Tesco to pioneer office space in local stores

Tesco has announced a flexible working trial that could see people able to use office space within their local grocery stores.

The chain’s New Malden store in London will be the pioneer site with office space being made available within the next few days.

The office area will use space in-store, with desks, co-working areas and a meeting room provided.

Office service provider IWG said the trial with Tesco stemmed from “really strong demand” from workers to have spaces for working close to home, as opposed to commuting into city centres.

Mark Dixon, founder and chief executive of IWG, said: “People don’t want to spend hours commuting every day and instead want to live and work in their local communities.” The company’s own research recorded that 72% of workers would prefer to work flexibly.

With 80% of firms, according to a survey from the Chartered Institute of Management, having now adopted hybrid-working since the end of the pandemic, the move doesn’t appear as outlandish as it may first appear.

Louise Goodland, head of strategic partnerships for Tesco, said the supermarket was always looking to “serve customers and communities better” and was looking forward to gauging responses to the trial.

Andrew Mawson, founder of global consultancy Advanced Workplace Associates, welcomed the scheme: “As the nine-to-five models of working give way to more hybrid models, the way organisations consider office space will have to change. The days of desk ownership are done. Offices are expensive fixed costs that generate large amounts of carbon. If they are not adding value they’ll be jettisoned.

“Pre-pandemic, offices were poorly utilised with a traditional desk being only occupied 60% of the time it was available, between 8am and 8pm in a normal week. I expect to see organisations innovating to use office space in a more efficient manner to release unused space and time for monetisation. Large occupiers with an overhang of office space will need to look to a variety of innovative models in a market in which the atomic size of an organisations office footprint might be as little as 30% of its pre-pandemic need.”

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