The pandemic has fundamentally changed how companies think about their office spaces. Surveys and conversations with downtown employers reveal that hybrid work is the new standard. Almost all employers report that they will be coming back to the office, but with a lot more flexibility for remote work. Fortunately, this is likely to have only a minor impact on downtown office leasing - most do not expect changes to their offices, and only a small fraction (17%) say they expect to reduce their office footprint.
Employers report that face to face interactions are vital, but also believe they must offer remote work flexibility to retain and recruit top talent.
While employers have realized their employees can be productive while working remotely, most know their company culture and sense of team has atrophied over the past year. If team members are only together a few days per week, using that precious time to collaborate and build culture will be critical.
The pandemic has proven your desk and computer can be anywhere, so commercial office space must provide other intangibles to justify the cost to the company. The walkable, amenityrich environment of downtown Dayton could be poised for commercial office growth in the postpandemic world.
COMING BACK TO THE OFFICE
Employers will be coming back to their offices over the summer and fall, but emphasize the return to downtown will be in phases. Downtown CEOs will manage complex issues as employees come back - apprehension about returning to the office, shortfalls in childcare and other personal dynamics, and mixes of vaccinated and unvaccinated employees.
For these reasons and more, leaders stress that coming back to the office can’t feel forced on their employees, but instead must happen organically.