Keys to Office Success in 2021

By Natalie Jones / 08.16.21 / 3 min read

Image courtesy of Photo by Adam Dillon on Unsplash

Office recovery in several downtown areas across the country is on the right path with a combination of an increase in job postings and a decline in remote jobs according to the VTS Office Demand Index (VODI) monthly report.

Take a look at the following:

New York
98% recovered; job postings 21.0% above pre-pandemic level
Los Angeles
99% recovered; job postings 27.0% above pre-pandemic level
83% recovered; job postings 29.2% above pre-pandemic level

San Francisco
67% recovered; job postings 10.8% above pre-pandemic level
56% recovered; job postings 20.8% above pre-pandemic level
66% recovered; job postings 16.2% above pre-pandemic level

The second group of cities have a high share of remote work, and the data above shows the impact of job type and job postings on the downtown office landscape.

Despite the inconsistency in growth across the nation, the demand for office space has shot up to 43.3% in the second quarter of 2021. The current figure is only 14% below the average for 2018-2019.

VTS CEO Nick Romito spoke about the observed differences in recovery.

“Employers are grappling with how to handle the future of work—do you make employees come back, offer hybrid opportunities or go fully remote? While it’s not our place to say that every company should bring their employees back into the office full-time, we can say that there is a clear distinction in recovery between cities depending on how remote-friendly their jobs are.”

Harvard Business Review argues that one of these options, hybrid opportunities, can work well if certain strategies such as the following are used:

  1. Blending the digital and physical experience together
  2. Shift to open collaboration spaces
  3. Adopt a fluid workplace
  4. Create a balance between “we” and “me” work

One way to employ a successful hybrid structure is by combining the digital and physical elements of a workplace through equity, engagement, and ease. This can be achieved by providing each participant in a meeting with their own screen, incorporating supplemental features such as extra speakers and easy-to-move displays, and using a variety of software solutions.

Companies can also establish open spaces with movable boundaries to foster collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving while designating enclosed space for individual work. A fluid environment where spaces have multiple purposes can support an organization’s culture. For instance, Steelcase currently has an open area for hybrid meetings, the café, town hall meetings, and rentable space for an event.

A hybrid office design can be effective if it allocates enough space for employees to work on their own. Although together time is valuable, research finds that employees report being more productive over the past year when they don’t have interruptions at home. Privacy at home and in the office is just as essential as space for group work.

A study shows that 52% of U.S. workers would like a combination of working in an office and at home. By including the strategies above, leaders can establish an environment that match employee preferences and support the company’s growth.

Click below to read our sources:

Rising Office Demand Fueled by New Jobs, End of Remote Work

4 Strategies for Building a Hybrid Workplace that Works