If you rebuild the workplace after COVID-19, will the workers ever come back?
In Silicon Valley, the answer from many tech companies is that many won’t, and maybe that’s a good thing.
In recent days, Twitter Inc. has said that employees have the option of never coming back to the office to work, while Facebook Inc., Google parent Alphabet Inc., Salesforce.com Inc., and Slack Technologies Inc. have said they don’t expect workers back in the office until 2021 — if then.
That just may be the beginning: At least six prominent tech companies are considering permanently moving a large slice of their workforces to work-from-home status, their chief executives told MarketWatch this week.“It’s hard to not see 20% to 40% of our workforce be remote,” Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield told MarketWatch in an interview Thursday on — appropriately enough — a Zoom video call. “We need to make real-estate decisions long in advance, two to three years, and are in the speculative conversation now if we have 30%, 40% fewer desks,” Butterfield said in discussing conversations he was having with fellow Slack executives this week. “We may make the office more of a hotel.”
Sensative recommendation to property owners: You need to consider a rapidly changing market and much more flexible space requirements from your tenants. You need to adapt your spaces to make them more attractive and more productive for the tenants’ employees than working from home. Employee personalization (light, temperature, ventilation airflow, humidity, desk space, etc.) will be important. You should also consider a much more flexible use, where tenants’ needs for space (size, utilization, technology) changes constantly.
Your tenants will put a lot of requirements on you and flexibility and customer service might even over-trump location as a property value driver.
Data-driven Smart Buildings with IoT based value-added services will be the new normal.