COVID-19 has highlighted exactly what the office is for and how central a role it should play in corporate budgets and strategies.
The Office for Vetting
The pandemic has accelerated the trend for home working but it has also revealed its limitations. One of the biggest is that in a knowledge-based economy, a company’s success still depends on face-to-face collaboration and interaction. With the pervasiveness of flexible working, the office will become a vital anchor. When an organization is trying to nurture, attract and retain top talent, the physical workplace plays a critical part in how people perceive that business. Rather than interacting or conducting a job interview via a videoconference, it will continue to be important to go into the potential client or candidate’s space and see how they interact and value other members of staff.
The Office for Mentoring
Alongside the business of doing business, the office has an even more significant role in providing a learning environment for younger employees. Much of developing staff is not just formal training, it is all the other interactions that cannot be quantified. There is still a tremendous amount to be gained from being together as a team in a shared environment. For people at the beginning of their careers, theirs is probably more desire to be with other people because they’re still learning and they want the experience and, in many cases, the social life that goes with it.
The Office for Safety
As the realignment of the office after COVID-19 continues, one strange phenomenon is that its immediate impact is that organizations will need more space per employee. Historically speaking, companies have been squeezing more and more people onto floorplans for a long time, with just 8m2 per employee becoming one of the standard densities. As offices continue to reopen safely and in order to maintain physical distancing, ratios will probably have to scale again, with staggered shifts, alternating start times and other scheduling options.
The Office for Resiliency
Companies have realized that not only do they need a safer office space but they also need better, more resilient office space. A permanent reaction to the pandemic has been to accelerate the need for modern, flexible office space with lots of services. Landlords will have to opportunity to differentiate themselves with added services. The services could include ways to help staff be more productive, whether that is through wellness solutions, sustainability, or flexible digital technology.
The Office for Flexibility
Another opportunity from COVID-19 could be that some companies split operations between several locations, potentially benefiting smaller business centres. Many companies may be thinking about how they could make their workforce if not pandemic-proof, at least pandemic-resistant. Historically, opening a second office may not have made sense but may be something that companies do at an any stage of their maturation. The availability in local markets of office space will be down to the dynamics of supply and demand. In some places, there was already a built-in undersupply of modern, high-quality office space, and COVID-19 has in some cases exacerbated this.
The Office for Purpose
Along with all the tangible changes and optimizations, the office will have to become a destination with a purpose. Change is a critical component of a business’ profitability and providing safe working environments will increase productivity and creativity. There is so much that we can learn from this whole pandemic experience that will make the workplace better and our interactions with each other more effective.
Positioning your investments for post-pandemic growth will require a nimble approach. In an ever-changing landscape, it will be important to have partners that can do the same. At ReDev, we believe in the power of collective intelligence, bringing multiple perspectives and depth of expertise to the sector. We are proud of our entrepreneurial culture that fosters investment innovation, collaboration and teamwork.