Study launched into how startups will return to offices — will WFH continue?

Mike Butcher
A look inside one of The Riveter's Seattle co-working spaces.

A comprehensive study into how startups will work in the future, in the wake of the global COVID-9 pandemic, has been launched by UK non-profit Founders Forum. The initiative comes in the wake of a number of organizations announcing extended offices closures and 'Work From Home' policies.

The group hopes the COVID-19 Workplace Survey will give the startup community actionable data in order that founders can make critical decisions regarding their return to work strategy and service providers (including accelerator programmes, co-working spaces and investors) can best support startups in a "post-COVID-19" world.

The initiative was started by Brent Hoberman, co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Founders Forum, Founders Factory and firstminute capital.

Speaking to TechCrunch, Hoberman said: “Founders are having to make critical decisions about their return to work strategy in isolation”. He says the survey aims to measure "the current action being taken by founders of early-stage businesses regarding their office spaces and remote work strategies" as well as "employee sentiment about returning to the workplace". This will then help "guide both founders and service providers on what can be done to improve the situation for these startups and their employees”.

The COVID-19 Workplace Survey is an anonymous survey designed to answer these core questions:

  • Are startups re-opening their offices?
  • If not, when do they plan to do so?
  • As soon as the UK government advises that it's safe to do so?
  • This year? Next year?
  • What safety measures are they taking in order to do so?
  • Beyond this, how has COVID-19 changed thinking surrounding remote work policies?

Hoberman explained: “We want founders to know the answer to ‘How are other Founders changing their workplace strategy?’".

He added that founders also need to understand how each employee's remote work environment influences their opinion on remote work policies going forward, given there is no one-size-fits-all solution: "What do different demographics really want in the way of remote work?".

For service providers like co-working spaces, they will also find out what startups will want from their workplaces (e.g flexible desk space, shared meeting rooms) in the post-lockdown environment.

The survey will run for the next 10 days and the results will be published on TechCrunch .