James Gorman, the Morgan Stanley CEO, “We’ve proven we can operate with no footprint. That tells you an enormous amount about where people need to be physically.”

Our business relationship with office space radically changed over the last year.  Here are questions being debated internally by almost every office-based firm:

  • What changes are permanent and what have we learned?  
  • Is this a temporary condition with companies and staff eager to return to a historical “normal”?, or
  • Did the pandemic simply accelerate the move to a mobile workforce that might have otherwise taken a decade or more although was inevitable?

What we are learning is:  There is no single answer.  It depends on the vision of company leadership and culture, and the nature of their work.

What is emerging is a variety of different real estate use strategies, including:

  • Retro – Return to pre-2020 design and use, no significant change to space requirements.
  • Hybrid – Permanent offices for full time occupants, hot desking for partial week attendees.  Minimal redesign and reduction, most companies will view excess space as “room to grow”.
  • Flex – Little or no assigned offices in favor of hot desking and some portion of staff fully remote.  Significant reduction in office space, typically 40-60%.
  • Mobile – Staff prepared to work remote for extended periods.  Office space used focused on meeting and collaborative space, perhaps with coworking or small urban offices for staff convenience.

There are many variations on the categories above.  And there are as many questions as there are answers:

  • Is there a correlation between the status during the pandemic and future planning?  
  • What are the trends by industry?
  • Does company size influence flexibility?

Want to know where your company ranks?  Take this five question two minute survey:

Note:  The survey is open to firms with 50 or more office staff only!  Please respond only if you fit that criteria.

Office Transformation Survey

Your individual response will be confidential and presentation of all results will be anonymous.  Respondents will get detailed results and we’ll have future posts here discussing general trends.  We appreciate your participation.