If you are among the lucky 30% of people able to work from home - how is it going? Great, mixed or not well at all? At our company and at others we have spoken with, the answer is often a combination of all three. If you were already set up to telecommute, perhaps your only problem is mixing home-schooling with work. No kids, good equipment, adequate space, no problem! Poor equipment and poor connectivity along with kids at home...yuck!
Office rent is a major expense for many companies. While the numbers vary by industry, generally commercial real estate accounts for anywhere from 2% to 20% of gross sales. The pandemic has left many of us unable to make proper use of our office space. Has the enforced work-at-home social distancing changed the way you think about your traditional office space? Now is the time to rethink your use of space.
Here are some important questions to think about as you get ready to “re-open” for business:
- What do you miss and what are you fine getting along without?
- Is working from home reshaping your business or that of your customers?
- Is your company culture adaptable to remote working?
- Is your space primarily for staff, or do you depend on walk-in customers?
- With the increased use of virtual meetings, do you really need a nice conference room for meetings that is seldom used?
Of course the answers will be different for everyone. If all or part of your workforce is happy working remotely, perhaps you can reconfigure, downsize, or even eliminate your on-site office space. Would it be cheaper to equip your staff with the appropriate technology and provide a home office stipend, than to pay to rent an office?
One client of ours is finding that, based on their recent experience in working from home, their office footprint may be far more than they need. Their team members are all having varying experiences based on their individual circumstances, but overall they now see that their current office space is underutilized. They are examining a post-shutdown world where reconfiguring and downsizing their space can significantly reduce costs. They have begun challenging staff to look at eliminating some private offices and increasing shared space and external storage, as well as exploring incentives for work-from-home as potential solutions.
Here's a great article that was published by NPR. It covers some great points about returning to our offices:
The Office As We Knew It Isn't Coming Back Anytime Soon. Maybe It's Changed Forever
Our company values our workspace. A lot. Our culture is built around giving, collaboration and communication. We believe that this free flowing collaboration and seamless communication is easier to achieve when we’re together at the office. Collaborating remotely isn’t impossible - especially with the wealth of digital tools available for companies specifically built for the purpose -, and as this situation continues on our thoughts may shift. For now, however, we are extremely eager to be back in office with each other again!
We would love to hear your thoughts and solutions as we seek to answer the same questions here at Arise.