26 Apr Moving from Pandemic to Endemic: What It Means for Your Office Space
Moving from Pandemic to Endemic: What It Means for Your Office Space
Businesses are deciding what their offices will look like now, more than two years after the start of the pandemic. The pandemic triggered a shift in work habits that many companies are embracing as the “new normal.” As a result, offices are evolving as decision makers choose how best to move forward.
FLEXIBLE SCHEDULES AS A WORK BENEFIT
During the height of the pandemic, most companies made the shift to completely remote work, if they were able to. Now that risks are lower, some businesses may be shifting to a hybrid schedule to keep the work from home flexibility that many employees enjoy. Surprisingly, recent polls show that most employees prefer hybrid schedules to being exclusively remote.
With a tight labor market, a flexible schedule can be the deciding factor for employees seeking a new position. In 2022 and beyond, allowing employees to work from home at least part of the time may be as much of a necessity as health benefits for some job seekers.
Having fewer people in the office raises the question of how much space is really needed for the company to operate.
A SMALLER FOOTPRINT
With office space often being one of the largest recurring costs for a business, it is no mystery why companies are looking to downsize their offices or abandon them altogether. Beyond a lease or mortgage, savings also can be realized from reduced utility and maintenance costs.
An office relocation can translate into thousands of dollars of savings.
If the business decides to go entirely remote and close a location, some revenue can be generated from selling office furniture and equipment.
With a recession looming, experts anticipate a further 20-25% decline in demand for office space.
REPURPOSING OFFICE SPACE
Companies may be hesitant to give up on having a physical space altogether, but the purpose of even a smaller space must undoubtedly be reconsidered. It doesn’t make much sense to have employees work in isolated compartments, with limited interaction, if a similar environment can be achieved at their homes. Instead, office layouts might be reconfigured to support collaboration.
This may necessitate swapping out segmented, individual pieces of furniture in favor of those that allow employees to work together comfortably. It might also entail removing partitions to create a more collaborative environment.
Of course, each business will have unique needs. A business may be able to confidently forego space for its employees to work but need to maintain a space to host clients or present to new potential customers.
SYSTEM MIGRATIONS AND CHANGES
Office relocations warrant careful planning, especially relating to IT needs. One item not to be overlooked is the migration of networks and IT assets to a new space.
After an office relocation, far fewer workstations may be needed, and their locations should be strategically chosen. A business may decide to implement wireless access that allows workers to use the network more conveniently.
It is best to work with experienced professionals who can optimize your network to provide a secure and functional service.
Network migration can be tedious and time consuming while also having the potential to disrupt business operations if not done correctly the first time.
As companies move from surviving during a pandemic to developing a strategy for long term, sustainable business operations, being open to change is essential.
A company may modify its work practices to afford employees the opportunity to work from home or maintain a hybrid schedule. They may relocate offices to save on costs and modify office layouts to serve new purposes. Relocating offices provides an opportunity to reconsider IT systems and equipment to align more closely with the company’s needs.
Overall, the pandemic has resulted in conditions that have opened the door for businesses to reduce operating costs and streamline operations.