According to research from PwC, 87% of employees still say the office is important for collaborating with team members and building relationships. At the same time, over half of them (55%) would prefer to work remotely at least three days a week once pandemic concerns recede. Given that 68% of executives feel employees must be present in the office at least three days a week to maintain company culture, there's clearly a gap in expectations for the emerging work environment that business leaders must address.
Meanwhile, as the PwC report notes, many younger workers have left urban environments for smaller cities like Raleigh, North Carolina, or Austin, Texas, where they can work remotely while enjoying a lower cost of living. As corporate real estate portfolios shift, business leaders will need to decide what types of office environments work best for their organizations. Some may simply expand their definition of the office to include employees working from geographically distributed locations, while others may actually follow the workers and relocate their offices to these new cities.
Then there are the workers who are returning to traditional offices after long absences. Some of these employees may find that they're no longer as comfortable using communal spaces or shared devices as they once were. They may prefer to work in separate, individual areas and use their own hardware, for example. Others may specifically come in to meet with colleagues or clients, digitally booking spaces for these meetings as well as separate rooms for focused individual work. Technology will play a role in helping all of these employees feel safe and productive as they re-enter these offices.