I remember a few years ago, one of the most common topics that I discussed with my clients who were seeking a new job or career was what they desired in an office culture.
Thinking about the amazing campuses for staff at some of the biggest companies in the world like Google and Facebook seems like a past life for all of us: maskless co-workers brainstorming while relaxing on communal couches, buffet lines in corporate cafeterias, shared cubicles and, for the lucky few, a keg of beer or nitro coffee at the ready for an after-work drink.
Many of us have been stuck at home for the last year, dreaming of the break room coffee that we once told our co-workers we would never touch again. And those who have returned to the office have found a much different reality. Tightly scheduled days, small pods, limited social interaction and mandatory mask wearing.
Faced with this reality, you could be forgiven for asking, will office culture ever go back to the way it was before Covid-19?
Sadly, the short answer is, probably not. At least, we will probably see the return of certain things we loved about our lives at the office, other things will be quite different and most likely some things will never return or be the same.
It may seem like a bleak prospect; however, this new moment offers us an opportunity to reimagine what the offices and office culture might look like moving forward.
Here’s a look at some trends that will drive the offices of the future.
The end of tech campus culture?
Looking at the trends of the past year, one might think that we may be looking at the end of magnificent tech campuses as we knew them.
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Just a few years ago, the major tech giants seemed to be locked in an arms race to see who could fit more free candy and modernist architecture into their booming corporate campuses. And this was a major draw for candidates, and who could blame them? Who wouldn’t want to go to work in an office with a gigantic futuristic greenhouse, or to choose from over 30 eateries for your lunch break?
But now that many job seekers are interviewing for remote positions, and many of the jobs that once operated out of shiny tech HQs are going fully remote, what will become of these meccas of corporate convenience?
Despite pandemic setbacks, many tech giants saw incredible growth in 2020, including Amazon, which saw an 84% profit increase, and Google, which boasts profits $21 billion dollars higher than in 2019. As these titans continue to thrive, it’s unlikely we’ll see any For Sale signs on their iconic Seattle and Bay Area digs.
Still, there have been some definite changes to the landscape of tech offices and the commercial real estate driven by these industries.
In August 2020, Pinterest pulled out of a deal to move into nearly 500,000 square feet of office space in San Francisco, paying a reported termination fee of $89.5 million. Even tech giant Twitter is subleasing 100,000 square feet of its San Francisco office space.
The decrease in demand for office space in the technology industry is no surprise considering that many tech companies were among the first to commit to permanent remote work. In May 2020, Twitter and Facebook both announced that they would move forward with changes that allowed much of their staff to work remote permanently. Others including Dropbox, Zillow, Shopify and many more have followed suit.
Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke perhaps best emphasized this trend in a tweet announcing the option of permanent remote work for his company, which said, “Office centricity is over.”
This move toward more staff working primarily remotely doesn’t necessarily mean the end of tech campus growth, or the expansion of large tech giants into new regional centers. As more remote workers are dispersed throughout the United States, we’re likely to see less growth in flagship campuses, and more investment by companies in smaller regional “hub” areas in different parts of the country.
For tech giants like Google, who have seen steady growth throughout the pandemic, the rise of remote work may not mean less office space. Google recently announced its plans to spend $7 billion on new office space and data centers.
Companies seem to be taking very different approaches when dealing with the rise of remote work and its effects on office space. Does this mean we may have seen the end of the glory days of corporate tech campus culture? As with so many aspects of the future of work, and the office, only time will tell.
Just a few years ago, many freelancers and startup hopefuls were enthralled by the idea of working from a shared space with the chance to meet and work alongside strangers. Post-Covid-19, this might be, how can I put this, a slightly harder sell. So what will the post-pandemic world mean for the future of the co-working industry?
With remote work becoming the norm across many industries, and some startups letting go of office space altogether, many are concerned that the co-working industry is in dire straits. Indeed, there are signs that some major players are struggling with these significant upheavals. Co-working real estate leaders Knotel filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in January 2021.
Other co-working companies are contending with a significant drop in profits while maintaining costly long-term leases. Occupancy of co-working space has dropped sharply, decreasing 27% from February to the fall of 2020. Many see this as an indication that the model on which the industry has traditionally been built, leasing and subsequently subletting commercial office space, may not be long for the business world.
WeWork, arguably the most recognizable co-working company, had already faced some significant challenges even before the Covid-19 pandemic upended the industry. In fall 2019, the company filed for its IPO, a move that launched a string of controversies surrounding the companies financials, allegations of workplace discrimination and cybersecurity breaches.
This ultimately led to the ousting of CEO Adam Neumann, the cutting of WeWork’s valuation from $47 billion to $10 billion and the indefinite postponement of the company’s move to go public. A majority stake in WeWork was sold to Japanese company SoftBank in October 2019.
Several co-working companies, including WeWork, have been exploring the option of transitioning to a franchise model. WeWork sold off stake in its holdings in China. While the franchises will retain the name, WeWork will have a significantly smaller share in profit and will be partially shielded for the liability of its long-term leases in China.
2020 was a very challenging year for the company, with WeWork reporting a negative free cash flow of $1.7 billion for the first three quarters. With many ups and downs over the past few years, WeWork and the co-working industry as a whole face a difficult path forward.
So does this mean the end of co-working spaces as we knew them? It may not all be doom and gloom. Forbes economist Bill Conerly points out that as we move past the pandemic, but individuals continue to work remotely, there may be more customers looking for the co-working experience. While large co-working companies face a lot of competition, Conerly says, they can still move forward with a workable business model.
Changes in commercial real estate
With all these sweeping changes in how we imagine offices, it’s no wonder that the commercial real estate industry has faced numerous challenges related to Covid-19.
For many, commercial and office real estate have long seemed a pretty safe investment. However, the economic downturn of Covid-19 has hit many industries and small businesses hard, and these effects have had a “trickle up” effect on landlords who depend on rent to keep their own businesses afloat.
As of January 2021, 33% of small businesses reported that they couldn’t pay that month’s rent, and the number is higher for businesses most directly affected by pandemic lockdowns, including 57% of restaurants, 46% of yoga studios and 36% of gyms. For minority-owned businesses, things are even more dire, with 49% unable to pay their rent on time.
A survey of commercial landlords found that 54% experienced an increase in missed or late payments for office, retail and industrial space.
The market for commercial space saw the sharpest decline in demand since the 2001 dot-com bubble, with demand dropping by 33 million square feet in the third quarter of 2020. Vacancy rates also paint a grim picture, with office vacancies up 90% and retail vacancies rising by 50%.
Overall trends seem to point to the eventual recovery of the commercial real estate sector. However, rates of sales and rentals are still down from previous years.
However trends play out, there are likely to be more major shake-ups in commercial real estate, with 87% of executives expecting to make some changes in their real estate portfolios over the next year, whether by consolidating office space or spreading out into satellite offices.
Hybrid models give the best sense of the future of the office
With the increasing deployment of vaccines, we can optimistically hope that we’re at the beginning of the end of this troubling chapter. However, we are still very much in the thick of it, and it will be difficult to say with any certainty what the future of the office will look like until it is truly safe to gather without restrictions again.
Increasingly, businesses are expecting that when it is safe to return to the office, hybrid models, with staff working partially in person and partially from home, will likely become more popular, and may even be the norm.
Many are reluctant to let go of the traditional model of the office altogether, with 87% of company leaders believing that the function of the office is important for team building and collaboration. However, less than one in five executives hope to return to the office in the same capacity as pre-Covid.
In most cases, remote work has been successful for businesses, and will likely remain a large part of how we work moving forward. As of January 2021, 83% of businesses felt that the transition to remote work had been a successful one, up 10% from June 2020.
So how will that square with our traditional approach to working from the office? Though the solution for many will likely be a hybrid model, what this will look like exactly varies greatly from company to company with executives’ opinions varying widely as to how many days a staff will need to report to the office in order to maintain a strong office culture.
The highest number of executives (29%) believe three days a week to be the ideal hybrid model. However, 20% believe that either one or two days is sufficient. Opinions of the ideal model ranged from full-time in the office to completely remote, indicating that every company will likely bring a different approach to remote work and hybrid models moving forward.
With so many unknowns these days, I sometimes wish that I could simply gaze into my crystal ball and tell you exactly what the future of your office will look like. The truth is, with so many factors up in the air, it is difficult to assess what the future of the office holds.
It’s probable that the days of casual co-working and spending nearly all your waking minutes at the office will be in the past for most of us. In the future, we’re likely to see some of the most important aspects of office culture return, combined with the continued success of remote working.
How are workspaces changing in the future? ›
Wellness-Equipped Smart Offices
The pandemic has also enabled a transformation not only in terms of benefits that employers offer to their employees in the new normal. Workspaces of the future will be all about mental, physical, and emotional wellness for better productivity and overall employee satisfaction.
The future of work post covid 19 has changed a lot with the innovation in work trends, which include hybrid models, advancement in technology and bringing automation into work. Career planning, upskilling themselves, developing communication skills and building networks are crucial to getting ahead in life.How the workplace has changed due to COVID? ›
Employees are quitting in large numbers. Companies are finding it hard to find workers. Wages are rising at an annual average of about 5%. Rewind back to March 2020, when millions suddenly found themselves forced from their offices to a life of remote work.What will be the future impact of coworking? ›
The future of coworking is likely to be even more popular than it is today. This is because the trend to work from home will continue to grow, and coworking allows companies to still be present in an office environment.What are the future trends in the workplace? ›
The employment trends occurring in the workplace today include shift to remote work, employee wellness, emphasis on diversity and inclusion, and ongoing learning.What is the future of work trends 2023? ›
The shift toward skills-based hiring will accelerate in 2023 as skills emerge as the currency of the labor market. Flexibility is the ability to choose one's work schedule and it no longer means just working remotely. It can mean working four or even three days a week, while working longer hours each day.Will work from home continue in 2023? ›
Given the popularity of hybrid policies, companies are unlikely to get rid of remote work entirely. In 2023, hybrid options will likely continue to win out.What are the post pandemic effects on society? ›
Globally, the COVID-19 has not only affected the public health socially but also has rigorously affected economically. Substantial declines in income, increase in unemployment, and distractions in the transportation, amenities, and industrial sectors are amongst the major concerns of the pandemic disease extenuation.Is work from home the future? ›
Various surveys indicate, home workers are less prone to take sick leave. Canada Life studies reveal telecommuters on average avail only 1.8 days of sick leave per calendar year compared over 3.1 days by office-bound workers. These indicators clearly prove that work from home is the future of employment.What are the three most important things in a workplace? ›
There are three key employer characteristics a job seeker should look for in an employment relationship: reputation, career advancement and work balance.
Will work from home be permanent? ›
Work From Home Is Becoming a Permanent Part of How Jobs Are Done. Data show we can expect 30% to 40% of workdays to be remote, long after the pandemic is over.How has the pandemic changed business? ›
Many businesses across the country saw their supply chains interrupted, demand for their products and services decline, shortages in supplies and inputs, and government-mandated closures. At the same time, the federal government implemented programs designed to help keep employees on payrolls.Why coworking spaces are the future? ›
With India's co-working space market likely to cross 50 million square feet by 2023, work spaces designed for flexibility will be top of mind for people seeking productivity and work-life balance. Wellbeing has been considered as a driver of higher levels of productivity and means of solving the productivity puzzle.What is a future of work company? ›
The future of work refers to an informed perspective on what businesses and other organizations need to know about how work could shift (given digitization and other trends), plus how workforces and workplaces can prepare for those changes, big and small. What is generative AI?Is coworking really the future? ›
Yes, coworking really seems to be "the future," or at least one part of the future of work. Current remote work statistics estimate that about one-quarter of Americans already work remotely at least some of the workweek, and projections estimate that over 36 million Americans will be working remotely by 2025.What are the 5 trends shaping the future of work? ›
The millennials, technologies, globalization, mobility, new attitudes… The employment scene is changing at an ever faster rate and it is vital to know and understand these changes.What will the workforce look like in 2030? ›
Expected Growth Areas
The Bureau of Labor Services is set to add 11.9 million jobs through 2030, a projected 7.8% increase, but that projection reflects the recovery from the 2020 layoffs. This equates to a little over 1 million new jobs – half the annual gain of the past decade.
In 2023, organizations will continue to face significant challenges: a competitive talent landscape, an exhausted workforce, and pressure to control costs amid a looming economic downturn. How employers respond could determine whether they are an employer of choice.What three jobs will be in demand in 2025? ›
- Data Science & Cloud Computing (Cloud computing goes hand in hand with data science, and cloud computing jobs range from architects and developers to data scientists)
- Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)
- Big Data Science.
- Digital Marketing & Strategy.
According to the Partnership's analysis, 54% of workers will ultimately return to an office setting by January 2023. Even the tech industry, which has been the most resistant to going back to an office, is nearing the tipping point.
Why do companies want employees back in the office 2023? ›
The vast majority of respondents (96%) say there are benefits to having employees in the office versus working from home. Business leaders cite improved communication (55%), creativity (50%), productivity (48%), company culture (39%), and employee oversight (31%).Why are companies forcing workers back to the office? ›
With remote work, workers can choose where and when to work, which gives them more control over their schedules and their work-life balance. Employers who are forcing their employees back to the office are trying to reassert control over their workers, but they are finding that it is backfiring.What comes after a pandemic? ›
Pandemic vs Endemic
The availability of the COVID-19 vaccine was a key step toward ending the pandemic or transitioning into an endemic. Enough people need to have immune protection from the virus for it to become endemic, highlighting the importance of vaccination.
There are ongoing health impacts from 'long COVID' as well as from delays in care seeking and reprioritisation of resources. Deficiencies in home and community care infection prevention and control measures, and inequalities in the structure and funding of social care provision, have been laid bare.What is post pandemic? ›
Citing the WHO definition of Post-Pandemic Transition as a “decrease of pandemic surveillance due to a decrease in pandemic outbreak,” with organizations in charge remaining vigilant in ensuring preparedness, Dr.Is remote work coming to an end? ›
The data suggests that remote work is here to stay. The terms “remote work jobs” and “work from home jobs” have hit their highest Google Trends search for all time in January 2023, indicating an enthusiasm and desire among job seekers for these positions.What are the working from home trends for 2023? ›
Below we look at what to expect in terms of remote work trends for 2023. These trends include there being more of a focus on company culture, wellness and work-life balance, increased flexibility, more asynchronous communication, and an emphasis on diversity in recruitment.Can remote working replace office in future? ›
Yes, while work from home is a solution with growing technology, it cannot replace office. There are several reasons. Only job related to industries like Information Technology, Internet, Online Services etc. can be carried out from a work from home scenario.What are 3 potential strengths that all office workers should have? ›
- Dependable. Dependability characterizes someone reliable and loyal. ...
- Flexible. ...
- Self-motivated. ...
- Team-oriented. ...
- Success-oriented. ...
- Optimistic. ...
- Communicative. ...
- Emotionally aware.
- Prioritize Work-Life Balance. ...
- Allow Flexible Working Schedules. ...
- Listen To Your Employees. ...
- Create Career Mobility. ...
- Build A Positive Work Environment. ...
- Recognize Employees For Their Hard Work And Reward Them. ...
- Offer Extensive Benefits. ...
- Encourage Breaks.
Which is the key to a good workplace? ›
A positive working environment encompasses a level of respect, empathy and overall understanding between colleagues. These sentiments can also foster collaboration and help you feel heard and valued at your workplace.Why companies want to end work from home? ›
One reason big companies don't want their employees to work remotely is they want to keep their employees in the office. This is because it's easier for managers to have control over the people that are physically near them.Is work from home declining? ›
Altogether, fewer people are working remotely than would like to, according to Gallup. In a late 2022 survey of about 8,700 U.S. employees in jobs that could be done remotely, 26% said they worked remotely exclusively, down from 39% in February. A smaller share, 22%, expected to have the option in the future.Will the job market get better in 2023? ›
Job Searching and Resume Building in the 2023 Labor Market
Despite the resilience of the current labor market, there is still a strong possibility for employers to gain the upper hand in 2023. There is much top talent in the pool, making the market strong but competitive.
The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in India is largely disruptive. The growth of the economy has slowed down due to shutdown of different productions channels. Reverse migration of workforce and consequent shortage of labour, resulted in further deceleration of economic growth.Why pandemic is a threat to business? ›
In addition to the threat to public health, the economic and social disruption threatens the long-term livelihoods and wellbeing of millions. The pandemic is heavily affecting labour markets, economies and enterprises, including global supply chains, leading to widespread business disruptions.Which industry is most affected due to COVID-19? ›
Sectors most affected include construction, manufacturing, and contact-intensive services (i.e., trade, transport, and hospitality).How do you think office spaces of the future will look? ›
The traditional, functional office space will shift to a workspace designed around social interaction, collaboration, and relationship building. A greater emphasis will be placed on technology and spaces that encourage face-to-face interaction as the future of work evolves.How has work place changed over time? ›
Employees were more often encouraged to work independently and stay on focus at all times, much different to the modern workplace where collaboration is encouraged. Workplaces were a lot less tech orientated – most business communication took place over landlines and in person and documents were all hard copies.What does work look like in 2050? ›
A flexible workforce
In the year 2050, technology will dominate the workplace with artificial intelligence and smart assistants being commonplace, while the use of augmented and virtual reality continues to increase. Everything will be 'smart' – connected and data-driven.
How technology is shaping the future of work? ›
The technological advances of today are affecting the future of work in three key ways: by scaling and speeding up human capabilities, by substituting labor with machines, and by enabling new ways to access and supply labor.What will the office look like in 2030? ›
Technology is set to transform the office from a physical workspace into a digital one. Office buildings, cubicles, meeting rooms—even water-cooler gossip—are being reshaped by virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, machine learning and other emerging software capabilities.Will office space become obsolete? ›
A new Cushman & Wakefield report found that the U.S. is expected to end the decade with 1.1 billion square feet of vacant office space. Worse still, more than 25 percent of the country's total 5.56 billion square feet of office, about 1.4 billion, will be considered obsolete.Is office space on the decline? ›
When people's offices are their living rooms, there's simply less need for commercial office space. Extrapolating from New York City data, one recent study estimates that the value of offices around the country could decline about 40 percent, or $453 billion, as remote work lowers the demand for office space.What are at least 3 ways the workforce has changed in recent years? ›
- 1A smaller share of Americans are in the labor force. ...
- 2The workforce is getting more diverse. ...
- 3 There's more gray in the workforce. ...
- 4Unemployed people are out of work for longer. ...
- 5 The shift toward service jobs continues, though more slowly.
Color, lighting, open spaces, and decoration, among others, are some of the characteristics of modern offices. Workspaces are no longer based only on the number of workers, they are also based on adapting to them to improve their stay, creativity, and, of course, productivity.How is the world of work changing today? ›
The nature of work, the workforce and work relations is being reshaped constantly by changing demographics and greater diversity, by greater global integration and technological advancement, and by increased competition in product markets and in recruiting and retaining the best talent.What are three jobs that will no longer exist in 10 years? ›
- Retail Cashier: $21,000. ...
- Telemarketer: $22,300. ...
- Freight/Stock: $23,900. ...
- Newspaper Delivery: $24,100. ...
- Travel Agent: $31,800. ...
- Postal Worker: $32,000. ...
- Taxi Dispatcher: $43,000. ...
- Word Processor/Typist: $45,000.
Automation: 5 jobs that will never disappear, and 5 that will be gone by 2030
- Travel agent.
- Taxi drivers.
- Store cashiers.
- Fast food cooks.
- Administrative legal jobs.
- Travel Agent Jobs. ...
- Cashier Jobs. ...
- Telemarketer Jobs. ...
- Safety Inspector Jobs. ...
- Assembly Line Worker Jobs. ...
- Newspaper Delivery Jobs. ...
- Referee Jobs. ...
- Train Driver Jobs.
What technology will change the future? ›
AI and machine learning are the foundation on which many other technologies are built. For instance, without AI, we wouldn't have achieved the amazing advances in the Internet of Things, virtual reality, chatbots, facial recognition, robotics, automation, or self-driving cars, just to name a few.How technology is changing the face of organization? ›
Technology has an essential role in improving the productivity of organizations. Managers rely on a business productivity software that allows them to track progress during every task completion phase. This way, managers can provide immediate intervention when required.How digitalization will change the work in future? ›
Digitalization will change the future of business technology in many ways: Automation will become more widespread as machines take over more tasks that people used to do manually. This means that we need fewer people to do those jobs, so we may see a shift toward more part-time work or freelance work.