B4 Property Day. A view from Oxford Business Park’s Development Director, Dan Williams

The events of the last 9 months have impacted each and every one of us, in an unprecedented way. For those of us that commute to a place of work and enjoy the social and collaborative benefits, the effect on our daily lives has certainly been profound.

Dan Williams
Dan Williams

The impacts on businesses are yet to be truly measured, but certainly for some types of business the current remote working pattern will manifest itself in reduced levels of productivity and creativity, whilst sadly negatively affecting the wellness of their staff. Of course for some businesses this period of change may have seemingly benefited them, and some may feel they can reduce their overheads as a result, but at what price over the longer term? The one common theme for certain though is that there has been a sea change amongst businesses, with most becoming comfortable with a more flexible approach to working arrangements, offering a blend of home working, the use of local “satellite” workspace, in addition to a main business hub.

So what does this mean for businesses – in short it has turbo charged the importance of having the very best places to work, that are easily and comfortably accessible and that offer benefits which do not exist elsewhere, particularly around the need to foster collaboration, innovation and a team culture. The workplace needs to make staff proud to be part of the business – to inspire and offer workspaces that fit with a modern, progressive culture.

The wider environment and it’s services are critical too – at Oxford Business Park we invest in places to eat, meet and socialise, which is all wrapped up by our Park Life team who provide a wealth of events to our 2,000 community members via our dedicated website and app. Businesses have always used their places of work to make a statement to their customers and staff, but this is more important now than ever before.

Oxford Factory
Oxford Factory

And what does it mean for business in Oxford – yes there are, and will be challenges, but having worked at the Business Park since 2007, there is no question that the City is resilient – with the best University in the World sitting alongside Hospitals that are global centres of excellence, there is rightly so an inherent confidence which is critical in delivering progress. There is also an underlying strength and depth of Community in the City and we must not lose sight of this, maintaining empathy and increasing our support for each other is the way to create a City with the most diverse and sustainable opportunity for all. The City is also currently sitting at a period in time which Cambridge experienced 25 years ago – when their Science and Technology sector was starting to become a global commercial enterprise. This opportunity for Oxford is here and now, the journey has begun and must be supported whole-heartedly by all key stakeholders. This is not the time to create hurdles and hinder this opportunity, get it right now and this will deliver huge benefits for the people of Oxford and the wider UK for decades to come.

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