At the beginning of the Pandemic we wrote an article titled, “Has the Nature of Office Space Changed Forever?” In the article we questioned whether work from home is here to stay and whether some companies will choose to remain virtual. Well, here we are almost a year later, and most large companies have still not come back to the workplace.
Here in New Jersey, the Governor has been rather silent about office space. Small companies with under 10 employees have reentered their offices with little to no consequence. Most of the office condo owners never left at all.
When are New Jersey office tenants going to face the realities of 2021? The larger office tenant companies here in NJ are about to face a huge deliberation about how they are going to look at the other end of the tunnel. Companies must soon decide how work from home will affect them for the long haul. As a part of the debate we expect that office densities will be revisited. The question of private office versus open work environments will once again be hotly debated.
We assume that in a few month’s when the vaccine is more widely distributed companies will survey their employees to see if they are willing to come back to the office. What CEO’s don’t know, and what their employees won’t tell them, is that many of them don’t want to come back.
It’s not at all what you think. It has little to do with Covid 19. It has everything to do with the office working environment.
A little furniture history.
Remember back in the 1980’s we would all read Dilbert, the comic strip that made the hated cubicle infamous. The space efficient cubicle had a good run, in spite of the blowback from employees. In the last decade, the cubicle is now considered old school and not part of a fun working environment.
What has replaced the cubicle? The new open seating concept style is called benching. Today we are told it is all about team collaboration. Benching is like sitting around the perimeter of a large table where the employees are staring directly into the face of the employee opposite them. Needless to say, this becomes a bit much after a while and so the second-generation of benching has added a modesty panel. The panel helps block the stare but leaves everything else very out there.
What is the dark secret that employees won’t tell the boss? The Harvard Study from 2018 on the new open working environment tells us the workers really hate benching. The study shows that worker efficiency at the benching tables is way down and so is worker satisfaction. After a year of working from home, creating their own working environment and working on a flexible time schedule, why would workers want to come back to the chaos?
So, what will your workers want to do? How will this effect your lease for the long term? We at Dickstein Real Estate Services are helping companies to rethink their office space from top to bottom. Do you need to reimagine your company? Call us for a confidential discussion to learn why, “OUR DIFFERENCE IS YOUR ADVANTAGE®”.