One in five charities considering office closures due to Covid-19 pandemic

An increasing number of charities are looking to keep staff working on a remote basis and close offices amid recovery from the Covid-19 health crisis.

Research has found that 19% are looking at downsizing and a similar proportion (17%) are considering closing some or all of their offices.

Currently almost all (95%) charities have remote working plans in place, to keep their staff safe and to adhere to social distancing guidelines. But more than a third 37% are considering extending remote working on a full time basis.

The research has been carried out by the insurer Ecclesiastical. It found that home working trends during the health crisis have “given charities an opportunity to revive how they operate”.

Almost half (43%) of charities surveyed said they are considering changing their long term office arrangements, either through downsizing or sharing with partners.

In addition, with redundancies across the sector many charities have less staff and are on the search for smaller offices.

Among charities overhauling their office plans is the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), which earlier this year announced the sale of its London headquarters that it shares with the charity Guide Dogs.

RNIB chief executive Matt Stringer said: “We have been assessing our office space to ensure it best meets our needs and we are using our resources as effectively as possible.”

COVID-19 has challenged us in ways we've never experienced before, but it has also given us a chance to be bold and seize on new opportunities,” said Ecclesiastical charity niche director Angus Roy.

“Be that moving to all staff working from home, downsizing or sharing space with partners.

“The sector has adapted to meeting the needs of its users while changing how it works – which is no mean feat and should be applauded. It is no surprise that thoughts have been turned to how charities can evolve by adapting the way they operate, including the spaces they work from.

“While the continuing threat of a loss of funding plus huge demand continues to drive much of the sector’s decision making – charities have been presented with a unique opportunity to review what works for them and in doing so future proof their organisation.”

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