In-office interaction can also boost employee engagement, team communication and ultimately, increase total sales or number of new-product launches.
Another compelling reason to return to office is to realize a return on a company’s sizable investment in commercial real estate: The average lease for Class A commercial real estate lasts 8-10 years (Source: Gartner). While many organizations will begin measuring and assessing space utilization upon returning to office, right now, leases are still in place and there is a push to make sure the office space is utilized.
The trend of investing in a dedicated office space isn’t going away anytime soon, either. More than 75% of new leases signed in the first half of 2021 were for terms longer than four years, and 25% were for more than a decade. These percentages are consistent with pre-pandemic levels.
Building the office of the future
As we look to the future, it is imperative that the “Office of the Future” allow Operations, Finance, IT and HR managers to ensure the safety and productivity of their employees as they return. This can be done in three ways:
1. We need to make the office more engaging and worthwhile to visit.
Employees don’t want to go to the office just to sit on conference calls like they do at home. Companies must develop compelling reasons for employees to use the space.
Making the office more attractive for employees through new technologies, state-of-the-art amenities and planned in-person activities, can help lead to a more engaged workforce and higher employee satisfaction. Organizations where employees are engaged with their work achieve higher results by more than 200%.
Additionally, companies with engaged employees tend to see 41% less absenteeism. An engaging and productive office will lead to high employee satisfaction, productivity and retention.
2. We need new, advanced functionality to better manage spaces and employees as they return to office.
The “Office of the Future” promises a more efficient use of space. In some cases, this will mean a smaller office footprint. In others, it will mean new, innovative technologies that help workers engage with the space in more meaningful ways.
For a more efficient use of space, two things need to be true.
First, employees have to understand what is in the office space, and whether it’s worth the time spent to commute. Today, 38% of hybrid employees say their biggest challenge is knowing when and why to come into the office. Employees need to feel confident they can come to work, and accomplish everything they need to in the office. That means knowing who is in the office, whether there is space to work and what resources are available.