What purpose does the office serve in the future in this pandemic/post-pandemic world? How much impact will we see from this national Work-from-home (WFH) forced experience?

Concerns over mental health, and the economy are two of the most common topics discussed when evaluating the impact of Covid-19 on our states, cities and people.

The impact however, extends far beyond these two areas. For example, real estate developers who create office space and pride themselves on the layout of their building are competing against the convenience of home. Tenants now value shorter rental contracts on work-space, and are potentially seeking more shared space venues. This pandemic has given the up and coming “shared work space” or “coworking spaces” the opportunity needed for this innovative way of working to become the new normal.

It is clear that for tenants, managers, and employees, flexibility will become extremely important in these next years following this Pandemic.

Yet, no matter how much people have learned to get comfortable with remote working, humans still remain creatures of habit and creatures of connection. When the productivity experienced during this forced WFH season, plateaus and the fatigue of virtual conference meetings, phone calls and never-ending administrative tasks sets in, will employees long for the days of interruptions and meetings?

Will businesses try to create a culture once more- a business that offers an identity, a community and a place to belong, to encourage their employees to return to the office?

Will the future hold a combination of remote and in-office experiences and no longer be 100% one way?

When things return “back to normal,” will competition arise between the at-home worker and the in-office workers? Will the competitive drive draw employees back to the workplace where they can be better heard because they are seen. Will managers draw their employees back to the workplace with environments that appeal and opportunity for conversation, coffee, social interaction, advancement?

Factors like age, company size, type of work all factor in when determining the type of experience one has when working remotely versus working in the office. Regardless, corporate real estate developers have an opportunity to innovate in the midst of this pandemic. We may never truly “return” to the way it was before, but imagine if we could return to something even better?