Post-pandemic offices will focus on employees
No other event has shaken up the world of office design quite like the pandemic did. Suddenly remote work was established as the norm and collaboration software became the only link between you and your colleagues. Following the aftermath, employees were progressively encouraged to return to offices. We all found ourselves back into daily commutes, sitting in the same old open spaces. Was this all for nothing then? Well, not quite…
Many corporations are rethinking their office portfolios to accommodate new employees’ habits. For one, they expect the mass adoption of hybrid work schemes to drive a reduction in their office footprint. Underutilization of space looms, as workers will typically spend 2 to 3 days a week in the office. In a recent report on real estate, McKinsey Global Institute measured office attendance in major cities remains 30% lower than pre-pandemic levels. This will have a direct impact on office demand in the future. In the same report, MGI forecasted a 13% drop in demand for office spaces in major cities by 2030.
“Office attendance in metropolitan areas remains down by about 30%”
McKinsey Global Institute, 2023
Hybrid work is here to stay. Around 63% of surveyed workers declared they benefitted from at least 1 day of remote work per week, with 44% having more than 2 days per week. This shift in working habits will inevitably impact the way companies plan their next generation of office space.
Post-covid workspaces are set to be very different from traditional offices. Among the top reasons for working in the office nowadays, 20% of employees say it is the best place for teamwork. 11% say they work in the office to increase their productivity when necessary and 9% say offices provide better access to tools and technologies. Instead of open plans and low volume per head, new office designs should focus on driving collaboration and interactions. User-centric designs provide employees with the tools and spaces to be at their most creative. They make good use of a variety of focus rooms, informal spaces, and relaxation areas where employees can come together.
Preparing offices for hybrid work will also impact the way we build. The decline in office demand and macroeconomic uncertainties now prompt companies to negotiate shorter leases. 10-year leases are no longer the norm. Tenants are reluctant to commit for long periods of time and landlords must adapt to this new reality. As a result, flexibility is in everyone’s mind. Flexible work arrangements, flexible leases, and, inevitably, flexible fit-outs.