Taking into consideration what characterizes a thriving community and strong company culture, human connection plays a vital role. That being said, work-from-home is definitely trending and some say it’s here to stay. What does that mean for overall office use?
Rather than downsizing, companies are adjusting the use of their current space to better suit their needs. Keller Williams, for example, has determined that having community collaborative space and unassigned private offices for employee use, is the best arrangement for their hybrid workforce. Other office ideas circulating include former private offices being repurposed as designated “Zoom rooms” for conference calls and shell spaces being created for individual use in an otherwise open area.
The traditional office structure is being redesigned to prioritize a communal area for people to gather and share ideas, as well as creating a healthy and well-spaced office layout. As Steve Raub would put it, “face-to-face collaboration is essential to cohesion in a company,” therefor we must ensure that there is a space to cultivate this. Before COVID it was common for offices to allot about 150 SF per employee, now many offices are calculating around 250 SF per agent to establish a safer & healthier environment for employees to return to. Jeff Eckert, President of the JLL Dallas location for real estate services commented that “Connection, communication and collaboration are vital to corporate America’s ecosystem so getting people together is critical. But employee safety and well-being is a top priority.” De-densifying the office plays a part of that plan so that employees feel comfortable returning to the office and people have a choice to work where they perform best.
Overall, professionals are working together to combine health recommendations with office design and structure so that our communities can get back in high gear while maintaining our health at the same time.
Promoting office collaboration and community, as well as, a space for hybrid workers to come and work on occasion and newbies to be trained is still being fleshed out. While the way we once thought of the traditional office layout may be changing, one thing is for sure, office space is NOT going away.