When Covid 19 hit, nobody really knew what it meant for the future of office space.
The doomsayers proclaimed “the office is dead” and the general consensus was that…“working from home is going just great!” But what really happened?
What happened was the inevitable…Change! We adapt and evolve. As 2020 demonstrated, things sometimes need to get pretty bad or redundant to effect positive change. For decades the office space remained largely unchanged, partly due to the inherently stubborn nature of bricks and mortar. The exponential rise of technology and changing social norms had yet to create a paradigm shift. Then came Covid 19, the ultimate accelerator of evolution and catalyst for change. And for a brief moment, the office space really was dead. Then technology saved us. We adapted.
Now its time to evolve! The future of office space could definitely be smaller, more flexible, efficient and cost-effective. It could enhance personal freedom to work when, where and with whom we choose. It could enable a more flexible work schedule so we can truly work, live and play. It could positively impact a company’s ability to win new business, or recruit and retain top talent. It could serve as a central communal hub for a decentralized workforce to come together for communal events, or to spark collaboration and new ideas. All of these potentials will likely have positive financial and social outcomes for your business.
“Buildings can improve overall productivity and performance by as much as 12.5% or reduce them by as much as 17%… that’s a 30% swing between employee performance in the best and worst buildings.”
HOK – Top 10 Trends Influencing Workplace Design
So yes, if you own a business you should probably look at downsizing and/or consolidating you real estate footprint. Just don’t overlook all the other opportunities to add value to your office space and, in turn, your people, your business and your community. Your office space is one of your largest expense items and the face of your business so make it count! Most office space landlords are rapidly adapting to their customers’ needs. It’s a tenant’s market again so there’s plenty of options and now is the perfect time to negotiate a new deal.
As the office market recovers, landlords are rapidly adapting around the inherent obsolescence of bricks and mortar and the financial constraints of rising vacancies and a recent downturn in rents. Ground floor exterior walls are being traded for roll up doors or openings to improve air flow and connect outdoor workspaces. Covid-19 health measures and HVAC infrastructures are being upgraded, often beyond CDC-prescribed guidelines, to enhance workplace safety and wellness. Landlords are providing more lifestyle amenities on-site such as gyms, open spaces, complimentary services, food and entertainment options. More flexible lease terms are being delivered and more convenient workspaces such as coworking environments and turn-key fully-furnished suites are growing in prevalence. Consequently, I expect the demand for coworking to double over the next 10 years.
These are exciting times! Now is the perfect opportunity for every business owner to reconsider the future of their office space. It’s 2021 and the future of office space is now.