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The Future of Offices

Updated: Nov 4, 2020

EconWatch (11/01/2020)

Emily Liu

Just six months ago, businesses were investing millions of dollars into procuring the ideal office for their employees. However, the arrival of COVID-19 completely eliminated all demand for offices as business operations transitioned over to remote work. The experience of remote work has given many people a new perspective on the need for offices. As a result, there has been much debate over the future of traditional offices.

Numerous companies initially feared that remote work would yield diminishing success. Yet, after a few months, these worries were brought to rest. A McKinsey study reported that “80 percent of people questioned report that they enjoy working from home. Forty-one percent say that they are more productive than they had been before and 28 percent that they are as productive.” In addition to satisfying their employees' wants, remote work is also economically beneficial. Businesses can significantly cut down on real-estate spending and would not be restricted to location-based hiring.

Even with all the benefits of remote work, some companies plan to stay with the traditional office. Jim Coleman, WSP Head of Economics, reasons that offices provide “learning opportunities for younger employees” that remote work cannot bring. Offices allow new employees to interact with others and experience first-hand what it is like being an employee. Offices also play a significant role in attracting and obtaining the brightest talents. Instead of doing a job interview online, interested candidates would prefer visiting the office to observe how the company treats its employees.

Once the world returns to its accustomed state, many businesses will need to weigh the pros and cons of each option and make the difficult decision of either working remotely or working in an office - or maybe even a combination of the two.

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