With so many office workers working from home, will the remote-work trend stick? Before coronavirus, the remote work trend had yet to take off in force. Early adapters like IBM who pioneered the remote work movement ended up reversing their policies calling workers back to the office as they saw productivity and collaboration weaken. However, this was circa 2017 when many of the tech tools we have available today weren’t as prevalent.
A recent Gallup study (via Forbes) noted that before the current outbreak, 43% of employees in the U.S. worked remotely all or some of the time. The Forbes article also reported that a study by Owl Labs showed that “34% of U.S. workers would take a pay cut of up to 5% in order to work remotely.”
Even more telling is the findings of The Remote Work Report which indicated that “95% of these workers want to work remotely, yet 31% are currently employed by companies that don’t allow it. Of these, 74% are willing to hand in their notice to work for a company that lets them work remotely.”
Now that the coronavirus has forced the hand of employers big and small, what will that mean for employees who have been working from home? Most have already set up their home offices, learned the basics of the now-household technology such as Zoom and Slack, and gotten into a daily rhythm with kids, pets, and spouses in the picture.
Plus, working from home can offer other benefits and savings including everything from saving money on gas to time commuting to and from the office.
I predict that when the situation begins to normalize we will see three trends take shape:
More employers will allow employees to keep their work-from-home status as they begin to take note of the benefits including greater productivity and less turnover. A recent study shows that companies that allow remote work report 25% less employee turnover than does that don’t.
Flexible leasing and space will play a bigger role in the office landscape. As employers offer their employees greater choice, they’ll seek greater flexibility themselves in their use of space and lease agreements.
Repurposing of Office Space
One solution making its way back into the conversation is that of turning office space into residential units. With the shortage of affordable housing creating a huge demand and economic incentives from various municipalities, affordable housing seems like an interesting option. Others see the opportunity in luxury condos.
If you’d like to discuss your office property options or other have other questions, please feel free to reach out to reach out to me.