Why offices are not about to shrink?

Interesting research made by Harvard Business Review (HBR) among US workers and employers recently suggests that the need for office space has not suffered a lot. It doesn’t mean that the historical growth trend in office demand remained intact, the research is just confirming that office tenants are not planning any significant cut of their office space despite the lower number of people spending time there.

HBR sees three main reasons for this:

Pandemic blew away long lasting trend of increasing density in office areas. Apart from being uncomfortable, many people are now avoiding big crowds to protect themselves from potential infection. After two years of distancing, people used to enjoy in more space and this habit won’t change anytime soon. This is not only about distancing from your neighbor colleagues in the office itself, it has an impact on common areas like lobbies, kitchens, canteens and elevators.

Secondly, most employees prefer spending some working days at home. Due to a difficult labor market, employers tend to meet these demands and 3 (office) +2 (home) week model became very common for the skillful workers. This hybrid and, in a way, chaotic working environment is not allowing employers to permanently shrink their offices.

Finally, employers are becoming aware that attracting most talented staff requires nice and attractive offices. Crowded ones are all but not inviting. They start to follow latest trends launched by co-working operators that are including large informal meeting areas and lobbies. This either requires more space or just the less crowd and different design of the existing one.

After two years of working in changed environment, collaboration and face-to-face interaction among colleagues became very important to employers. It seems they are now stimulating such behavior by providing more comfortable offices with different amenities to their staff.

We are able to see the very same tendencies happening on our local market.

Why Companies Aren’t Cutting Back on Office Space (hbr.org)

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