| January 4, 2021
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Commercial real estate leaders shared insights and ideas for how building owners and tenants can safely and successfully navigate the post-pandemic return to the office during NAIOP New Jersey’s recent “Back to the Future of Office” webinar. The commercial real estate development association’s virtual program addressed critical issues including in-demand tenant amenities, how office buildings can be retrofitted or upgraded to promote health and wellness, and what digital and proptech solutions can add value to office assets over the long term.
The future of work may be a remote/office hybrid
David Craig, strategy director with Gensler, shared recent findings from national studies the firm conducted in April and August to gauge the pandemic’s impact on the worker experience. Differences between the two surveys showed that, for remote workers, the individual work experience has declined. “Those working 100% from home reported that, while they are able to complete more individual work, they are more fatigued and their sense of accomplishment has dropped,” said Craig. “This suggests that if we continue to do this long term, we could be facing large scale burnout.”
On the other hand, hybrid workers – those splitting their time between home and office – are much happier and more productive than people working 100% at home or in the office. “When asked how they want to work when COVID is over, 65% of those at home today want to be hybrid in the future,” said Craig. “Another 11% don’t want to work from home at all, and those in the office now want to work in the office.”
Worker preferences are closely tied to the length of their commute. “Not spending time commuting is what people like most about working remotely, but connecting is what will draw them back to the office,” Craig noted. “To have the flexibility they desire, more than half of those who want to work hybrid are willing to forgo their own desk for more collaborative spaces.”
When it comes to re-envisioning future workspaces and campuses, Craig said it is essential to build in opportunities for change. “The future is uncertain and the hybrid way of working is largely unprecedented. We are designing spaces for team-driven use that can be used in more than one way.”