As PwC pointed out last year, “In many companies, determining what to do with the office is the focal point of a much larger discussion.”
A year later, this discussion is just as relevant after the success of remote work has helped organizations re-imagine how corporate work gets done – and where it takes place.
Today, this monumental shift has led most companies to proceed towards some type of hybrid work model and accrue significant savings on real estate costs while meeting the evolving needs of the modern workforce.
Consequently, organizations are waking up to the benefit of occupancy tracking to determine which parts of their working space make sense to keep, and which no longer serve any purpose.
While occupancy tracking has always been a valuable tool, COVID-19 has made it an absolute must as organizations and people redefine what constitutes the modern work environment.
With this in mind, here are the top five reasons why organizations should leverage occupancy tracking to learn how their employees are using their working space:
1. People don’t come to the office in the same numbers as before.
Last year, Forrester estimated that 70% of US and European companies will pivot to a hybrid work model post-pandemic. This means that at least some employees will work anywhere they want for two or more days a week while coming into the office on the remaining workdays. The same research has revealed that 55% of US employees said they hoped to work from home more often, even after the pandemic. This is hardly surprising considering that working from home provides a number of benefits, including better work-life balance, less commute stress, gas savings and location independence.
The way people use working space has changed
Only if you lived under a rock for the past two years have you failed to notice the stratospheric rise of online meeting tools, which have been gaining speed over the past 15 years but increased during the pandemic. For this reason, previously packed conference rooms and meeting rooms are becoming increasingly empty. Plus, with the rise of contract work, more workers are leaving traditional offices to work from coworking spaces. Globally, the number of coworking spaces is forecast to hit 41,975 by 2024, double from 20,000 in 2021. Another reason people don’t use offices as before is the rise of hot-desking. As companies race to adapt to the new normal and adopt a hybrid working model, people have started coming to the office only periodically. This has given rise to more desks being used by different employees, at different times, sometimes on an ad hoc basis. In fact, almost 75% of potential workers consider work flexibility and hot-desking an incentive to join a company that offers these perks.
The post-pandemic office is now a place for connection and community
The Wall Street Journal summed it up well arguing that today’s office should be considered a clubhouse rather than a place to get work done. The pandemic has shown us that much of the work in the knowledge economy can be conducted remotely, leaving physical workspaces to act as hubs that encourage personal relationships, developing and integrating new employees, generating ideas and building company culture. As more companies embrace hybrid work arrangements, we can expect that offices will continue to evolve their character and purpose. Working spaces of the future will increasingly be used as collaboration and brainstorming centers rather than places that cater to individual work zones.
9-5? What 9-5?
A survey conducted by management consulting company Korn Ferry has shown that 90% of employees spend 38% of their day on productive tasks. Another survey on 1,979 office workers in the UK by cloud-savings company Vouchercloud complemented these findings, revealing that employees are productive for only three hours in an eight-hour workday. Employees spend the rest of the time reading news, looking at social media, eating and socializing, among other activities. According to a UK study, employees are most productive around noon, while another study revealed that Monday morning was the most productive time. Then there’s the afternoon slump that can hit between 1 and 3 p.m. and hamper many employees’ productivity. And let’s not forget that a millennial employee’s working patterns will differ from those of a seasoned professional with kids who need to be picked up in the afternoon. Progressive organizations such as Apple and Dell have clued in that productivity ebbs and flows depending on employees’ lifestyle and are letting employees structure workdays on their terms.
Employment is transforming as more people leave full-time positions and choose contract work
Office use patterns are bound to change when your employees are digital nomads, work-at-home parents or freelancers who don’t need to come into the facility every day. The benefits of contract work are two-sided: employers can hire from a wider pool of global candidates while workers can sign up for projects that fit their interests, experience and meet their working arrangement expectations. A remote job search website GoRemotely has found that around 34% of the US workforce was involved in the gig economy pre-pandemic. What’s more, almost 11 million American workers describe themselves as digital nomads, a jump of 49% from 2019, according to a study by MBO Partners, an independent workforce management solutions company.
Conclusion: Hybrid work has won the hearts and minds of employees and organizations
You don’t need to look very far to realize that hybrid work is here to stay. Nearly 80% of potential job seekers consider flexible work arrangements necessary when applying for new jobs as this trend becomes more mainstream. As a result, commercial office space is undergoing transformational changes that are compelling commercial real estate managers and organizations to reevaluate the efficiency and performance of their facilities. This means that companies looking to remain competitive, slash costs and retain top talent will need more laser-sharp insights into how their employees and contract workers are using their working space. The office, after all, has evolved beyond its initial clerical function.
It’s time to modernize.
EAIGLE is proud of helping organizations build offices of the future using AI-powered workspace management solutions. Visit eaigle.com to learn more.