In the post-Covid era, office space will shrink because of themany lasting effects from the coronavirus, including pressures tocut costs, acceleration of cloud computing and more support foremployees working from home.

|

That's according to a report from IT consultant MessagingArchitects—adding to the chorus of voices across the US that areanticipating a mass trend of smaller corporate office space.

|

While the virus will end at some date, its effects will lastmuch longer, noted Messaging Architects, an eMazzanti TechnologiesCo. It cited a recent Gartner survey that revealed 74% of chief financialofficers will move at least a portion of their previously on-siteworkforce to permanently remote positions.

|

With improved work-life balance, a more content work-from-homeemployee "is more productive, giving both workers and employersgood reason" to continue these policies, the report said.

|

Costs factors will also influence smaller offices, as companiesthat experimented with flexible scheduling to reduce officehead count have financial incentives to make the rotationspermanent. Companies cutting costs will find "they can manage fine"with less space, the report noted.

|

Another factor will be less need for server rooms. "Theovernight acceleration of cloud computing to accommodate [workingfrom home] means that server rooms will be eliminated in favor ofcloud data centers," the report predicted, adding technology willmake remote work as productive or more productive than in theoffice. "Technologies to facilitate employees coming and going,improve collaboration and health, and other office productivityimprovements will transform post-pandemic office spaces."

|

Meanwhile, physical office space will see long-lasting changes,such as improved air filtration and circulation systems, thesharing of employee desks on a rotational basis, and less densityper square foot. Changes appearing now to control the spread, likeplexiglass dividers, one-way foot traffic and 6-foot floor circlesaround desks "will not all disappear" due to the popularity andlong-term health or psychological benefits, the report said.

|

The report cited the predictions of Apple CEO Tim Cook,who wrote that "once the pandemic is over, offices will be moreabout interaction and community than pushing individualproductivity." Organizations will want to optimize the times thattalent is together in the office, Messaging Architects said.

|

One counterpoint to reducing office space is that expandedspaces for collaboration, less density and social interaction mayabsorb the extra space vacated by remote employees. "That mayhappen in big companies that can afford it, like Apple andFacebook, but seems unlikely" for small and midsize businesses, thereport noted.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.

Christine Simmons

Christine Simmons writes about the New York legal community and the business of law. Email her at [email protected] and find her on Twitter @chlsimmons