By Star McFarlane

BBC News

Image source, IWG

Image caption,

Is remote working from your local supermarket the future?

Remote working and your weekly shop in one? Both could be possible after Tesco announced a flexible working trial with office service provider IWG.

From mid-May, people will be able to use office space created in the chain’s New Malden store in London.

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

The move highlights the continued move away from traditional office set-ups since the pandemic.

IWG said that the trial with Tesco was reflective of “really strong demand” from office workers to have suburban alternatives close to home, as opposed to commuting into city centres.

“People don’t want to spend hours commuting every day and instead want to live and work in their local communities,” said Mark Dixon, founder and chief executive of IWG.

Research from the company suggests that 72% of workers would prefer to work flexibly.

Zooms from the milk aisle?

The partnership comes as supermarkets are increasingly looking for new ways to make money from their physical stores, with many shoppers having switched to online deliveries during the Covid pandemic.

The pandemic and lockdowns also caused a huge shift in people’s working patterns and while restrictions have eased, the latest figures suggest that the shift to flexible working is here to stay.

A survey from the Chartered Institute of Management found more than 80% of firms had now adopted hybrid-working since the end of the pandemic.

Louise Goodland, head of strategic partnerships for Tesco, said the supermarket was always looking to “serve customers and communities better” and it would be interested to see the response to the trial.