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  • Michael Dubicki
  • 6 May 2020

If you haven’t invested in a stair machine yet, there’s still time! And if you’re reading this in your garden enjoying a cheeky cigarette, you should probably read closely. 

We are imminently going to hear from Government about how they plan to get us all back to our desks and when. After weeks and weeks of trying to work from home surrounded by pets and kids, at the mercy of unreliable Wi-Fi connections, most of us will be paying close attention and a lot of us are rearing to go.

But whilst there is a lot of talk about transport and social distancing, the practicalities of life will come down to some simple things. In this short consideration, we look at one of these:


You don’t think you need to worry about the stairs? We beg to differ. You will be seeing a lot of them. Think about it this way…

The UK is by no means a world leader in having lots of tall buildings – London, for example, is 41st in the world for the number of skyscrapers ( but when you’re walking around the City, just look up – there’s a LOT of tall buildings. And lots of lifts.

Social distancing is likely to be in place for some time to come, which means we must look at the working environment from a completely different angle. For example, how long will it take you to get into a building?

A building like The Shard (, for example. 95 floors of pure awesomeness, with people all the way up to the 72nd. North of 5,000 people work here at any one time. It’s amazing!

They have 36 lifts… it takes about a minute to go up and another minute or so to come down.

That’s an awesome number of lifts by any modern standard, but if we are taking social distancing at its word, we can’t expect any more than 2 people in a lift at a time.

Doing some quick maths, it would take 2.5 hours to get everyone into the building. Probably longer than that to get them back out again. 5 hours is over 60% of the ‘normal’ 8-hour working day.

You do not want to be at the back of that lift queue!

So, back to the opening sentence and the stair machine. Get practicing, because you are going to be seeing the inside of staircases a lot more than you’re used to. You’ll probably need to be shown where they are? There’s probably a massive niche market for ‘staircase art’ and ‘motivational slogan’ signs to hang up every floor…

So what about the cheeky cigarette?

Let’s say you work on the top floor of the Gherkin ( and you average 10 a day. The Gherkin has 41 floors. There are around 25 stairs between each floor. That’s more than 1,000 stairs up and down. Ten times a day. 20,000 stairs (not steps). That’s Fit-Bit busting stuff!

So, tying all of that together, in the worst-case scenario if you are at the back of the lift queue and you don’t want to risk using the lift, it will take you 5 hours to get in and out, and another few hours to have your cigarettes. Welcome back to post-Covid utopia!

Our predictions?

  • We will all get a lot healthier
  • A LOT of people will stop smoking
  • Deodorant sales will skyrocket
  • The Vertical Rush record ( is going to get SHATTERED the next time the race is held – currently held by Thomas Dold, who scaled the 932 steps in 3 minutes and 58 seconds (what??!)

Flexioffices represent the entire flexible office market (and yes, we have offices in both the Gherkin and the Shard if that’s where you want to be). But we have a heap of buildings on the books that won’t need you to make like a mountaineer to get to your desk. If you want to talk through the options, or place bets on the next Vertical Rush record, we’d love to hear from you.