As the world adjusts to a new “normal”, companies are beginning to rethink their office spaces and work from home policies. As the coronavirus takes its toll on the economy, companies are forced to get creative to save costs- for some this means downsizing office space by giving back square footage to the landlord.
As a commercial general contractor, we have a lot of experience renovating 50,000 sq ft office spaces. What we’re seeing now is that since the investment in teleworking technology, work from home policies have proved a cost effective and safer alternative to the 9-5 office culture that most companies have become accustomed to. According to McKinsey & Company, “estimates suggest that early this April, 62 percent of employed Americans worked at home during the crisis, compared with about 25 percent a couple of years ago.”
One of our long-standing clients, Spaces, a workspace provider, might expect a transition in popularity from communal coworking spaces to private office areas. Similarly, commercial office spaces could potentially rethink downsizing their leases or looking for flexible office space rather than long-term leases. Under this trend, work from home policies may remain in effect long after the pandemic is under control. This option also gives employers the ability to stagger workers in shifts while utilizing teleworking technology to remain connected with those working from home.
Alternatively, companies may look to expand their office spaces in order to adhere to the CDC recommended “six-foot rule”. Open office areas could transition back to cubicles with privacy walls to keep germs at bay. We could also expect a rise in voice technology in the office space that would limit the amount of contact on common surfaces.
It’s too soon to tell what the future of office work looks like, but we do know that we’re moving towards a more safe and flexible future. Despite it all, that is something to smile about.