COVID-19 dealt a wildcard to the corporate sector that no-one was prepared for. Much of the commercial office landscape is now lying deserted, and though it won’t remain this way forever, it certainly won’t return to its pre-pandemic form.
Some companies, like Twitter, are going fully remote, while others are looking for flexible options that still allow for in-person collaboration. Though it’s impossible to know for sure what the full spectrum of post-pandemic changes will look like, you can certainly expect to encounter the following:
A hybrid working model
Many business owners aren’t yet ready to give up on an office space that brings their team together. However, long lock-in leases with expensive overheads are the last thing anyone wants during the uncertainty of a pandemic.
Serviced and virtual offices have been rising to meet this new demand, offering flexible packages that allow people the freedom to downgrade their office space without downgrading their business. Staff can alternate time spent in the office with time spent working from home, meaning less square footage is required.
Uncertainty demands flexibility
For business owners looking to cut back on expenses without sacrificing the quality of their offerings, serviced offices have been a game-changer during the pandemic. Flexibility is built into the serviced office model, with business owners charged a flat rental fee that covers not just their space but also their electricity, cleaning, receptionist services, and other elements of the selected package. The model is working so well for the office spaces and the businesses using them that it’s likely to be adopted by commercial agents around the globe.
The contactless office of the future
Most people have their first encounters with contactless technology in public restrooms, with taps, soap dispensers, doors, and in some cases even toilet seats that are activated by movement. Spurred by the pandemic, this technology will soon expand out of our bathrooms and into everyday life.
The Internet of Things (IoT) will be central to this change, with everything from the office coffee machine to elevators and audio-visual equipment able to be operated via smartphone apps or voice-activated technology.
The rise of the digital landscape
Even before the pandemic, the digital landscape was becoming more and more real. Our screen time has been steadily rising year by year, and with virtual reality and video conferencing technology developing at a rapid rate, the digital landscape is on the verge of being as real as the outside world.
Though fans of dystopian fiction may be furrowing their brows at this development, businesses had little choice but to jump on the technology available to them when the pandemic hit. Cloud technologies, the IoT, video conferencing, and team-based work management platforms have allowed many businesses to remain operational, despite the strict lockdown rules.
A tribal office structure
Of course, this doesn’t mean the digital landscape will take over entirely. Many companies value the team environment they’ve fostered. In order to preserve it, they are turning to a decentralized model, swapping large corporate headquarters for a spread of smaller community-based offices.
This effectively creates tribes of workers who are able to attend offices close to the suburbs they live in. Transport options are easier, with none of the massive inner-city crowds to worry about. Commercial real estate agents in these suburban areas are likely to take up the flexible leasing options offered by existing serviced offices in order to secure tenants.
Though the pandemic has brought with it a trail of mayhem and uncertainty, the way forward is becoming clearer by the day. We are facing a prolonged period of change, upheaval, and reform. However, the future of the commercial office landscape is looking surprisingly bright for employers and employees alike. If you’re ready to guide your business into a new successful chapter of its life, contact the MCO team today.