“Key workers”, as a phrase, is one that we’ve become accustomed to since the global pandemic. However, as we settle into 2023, we are, hopefully, closing the book on coronavirus and starting afresh in a drastically different world. In this new world, key workers are no longer limited to healthcare and logistics staff. They are the staff that help private and public sector organisations survive and thrive, from cashiers and stockists, to office workers, construction specialists, and beyond.
New working and it’s high street impact.
With change comes impact. Now, four times as many people regularly work from home as they did pre pandemic, and high street shops have taken a drastic hit on footfall as a result - think about the all-too-classic extended lunch breaks, or ‘coffee shop meetings, that were once so popular. Areas once filled with office workers spending their cash became barren wastelands during the pandemic, and have been hit hard with a fallout, too - for example, Manchester reported a 32% decline in spending between 2020 and 2022.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though; there has been a natural migration back to the office over the past 12 months, as companies start to adopt a hybrid approach to working, offering flexible hours and employees the chance to come and go when they please.
Now companies are changing to an ‘always-on’ approach, fitting out offices with speed gates and automated turnstiles, and allowing their staff to come and go as they please - assuming they get the job done, of course. But here lies a new opportunity for retail businesses in the form of automated retail.