Significant Changes to Office Space? “It’s too soon to know.”
By David L. Schiller, SIOR
Millions of words were and continue to be written about the subject of office space changes in the face of infectious disease threats. Chris Coldoff from Gensler Global Architecture was quoted: “From the standpoint of making significant physical changes, everyone is in a wait-and-see mode.”
Some physical changes predicted by experts may include:
Cubicle panel heights
Ever-increasing use of demountable and expandable wall systems
Decreasing density in the workplace
Back to the suburban office park?
Reverse of the co-working trend
Will changes make us safer, manage our fears, or both?
What are we observing?
Operating expenses will likely change
Many surveys report the great majority of the office workforce wants to be in the space, together
Productivity decreased for many organizations
Mentoring and training programs are viewed as more effective in the workplace
Collaboration among many professionals is less effective from remote locations
“Culture” of a company is real, and is difficult to sustain with remote workers
Worker retention is a challenge outside the workplace
Supervision and management are not as effective when employees are outside the workspace
What can Tenants and Landlords do now?
Office space will not disappear. Leases will expire, businesses will grow and others will “rightsize.” New businesses will arise. New partnerships will form, old partnerships will split. Older spaces will require “refreshing.” Some will add satellite offices, some will centralize operations. In short, the essential business decisions in the office market do not change in the shadow of COVID. These dynamics continue to occupy the thinking of office Tenants and office Landlords.
Three Final Thoughts:
Our world will never be virus-free.
Human beings will never cease to be social beings.
Tenants and Landlords are in the same boat, and both want to stay afloat.
For a no-obligations, confidential discussion about your specific challenges and plans, call me on the phone or let’s schedule a socially-distanced in-person meeting: 716-628-3477