The workplace dynamic has dramatically changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  While a sizeable number of employees are still working remotely on a hybrid or fulltime basis, there has been a significant increase in the number of companies requiring their employees to return to the office.  According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics data from April 1, only 10% of employed Americans worked remotely in March.

Not everyone is rushing back to the office.  A record number of American’s quit their job in what some have called the “Great Resignation.” Others describe the phenomena as the “Great Discontent” with employees rethinking their relationship to work and how it fits into their lives. What used to be a company-centric job market has quickly shifted to a candidate-centric market where the competition for employees has never been fiercer.

In response, smart companies are changing the way they think about the workplace.  Rather than viewing office space as an expense, they realize that well-designed workspace and smart planning can help them recruit and retain employees, while improving productivity, wellness and engagement. According to a McKinsey and Company report, workplaces that are well designed and purposeful are more important than ever, and can offer a competitive advantage, especially when it comes to recruiting. Merging a company’s approach to real estate with its [business] strategy is a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to act boldly and emerge from the pandemic stronger and more competitive than ever.”

The work environment is a big part of daily flow that can either support or erode the experience employees have of the company.  Surveys done by Herman Miller found there are three core experiences that are best supported by the office: Community socialization, team collaboration and individual focus.  Effective workspace provides areas that encourage people to interact with their extended networks, have assigned and unassigned shared spaces to encourage collaboration and offer private, quiet areas for individuals focused work.

“We want our tenants to think of their office space as an investment, said Sheldon Oppermann, Compass Properties Executive Vice President. “The rent should generate a return on your investment and not just be considered overhead. This happens when you find a location and building that reinforces your brand, improves your ability to attract/retain talent, and demonstrates to your employees/your customers that you value them.”