Dallas, TX , United States, 10/11/2021 / Venture X Dallas Park Cities /
The amazing office campuses of companies such as Google, and Facebook now seem like a thing of the past as a pandemic has effectively changed how people work. Gone are the maskless co-workers brainstorming a problem while relaxing on communal couches, shared cubicles, and buffet lines in corporate cafeterias.
Most of us have been working from homes for the last year, dreaming of returning to our offices. Those who have returned to offices have found a different workplace with limited social interaction, and mandatory mask-wearing. One can be easily forgiven for asking whether office culture will ever go back to what it was before the onset of Covid 19? The sad answer to this simple question is no. We will probably see the return of some things in the offices, while some things will never return and will be changed forever.
The end of Tech Campus Culture
Tech giants, in particular, have invested a lot in their campuses and one can say after looking at the trends of the past year that we are looking at the end of magnificent tech campuses as we knew them. Surely everyone would like to work in an office with a giant futuristic greenhouse, or an office that has more than 30 eateries serving free lunch.
Now many interviews for tech positions are for remote positions where workers are not expected to set afoot even once in the shiny office campuses constructed by tech giants. This poses a question mark over the role of these shiny campuses in the future. One thing is sure that the companies are not in a hurry to push the sell button as the pandemic also brought with it increased profits for most companies operating in the tech sector.
With the rise of remote work, the co-working industry is among those that have suffered. Occupancy of co-working space has dropped sharply, decreasing almost 27% between February and Fall 2020. Co-working real estate leader Knotel filed for bankruptcy in January 2021.
While WeWork, the face of the co-working industry, was already facing challenges before the onset of Covid 19, with its valuation crashing from $47 billion to $10 billion in 2019. While the signs for co-working companies are not good, it may be too early to say that coworking has become a thing of the past as Forbes economist Bill Conerly pointed out last year that more people might end up using co-working spaces once the pandemic recedes.
Hybrid models may give the best glimpse of the future of the office
Company leaders are reluctant to let go of the traditional office model, with a whopping 87% believing that the function of an office is important for team building and collaboration. While it’s also a fact that remote work has been mostly successful for businesses and 83% of the businesses felt that the transition to remote work has been quite smooth.
A hybrid office model might offer the solution to the dilemma faced by business leaders. It will not only allow workers to work for some days from the office but will beautifully combine remote work with office-based work.