Software company SoundCommerce executives spent days in April dishing out stand-up desks, 48-inch monitors and other tools to employees’ houses after the pandemic forced workers to shelter in place.
With the company’s office lease expiring at the end of July, CEO Eric Best said they will not be extending their contract.
“We polled the team and, for the vast majority, they prefer to remain at home,” said Best. “We’re not making any decision for the long term right now. We’re thinking about what do we do for the next six to 12 months in terms of maximum safety of team and maximum flexibility of the company.”
Many tech companies have shared this sentiment. In fact, CBRE predicts that there will be a 7% drop in office rents per square foot from the first quarter to the fourth quarter. Now that COVID-19 cases are on the uprise again, this could spell trouble for the office sector.
Some companies have already revealed a shift to a hybrid arrangement, allowing workers to work either in the office, from home or a satellite office. The cost efficiency of switching to remote working, allows companies to use the money to further improve their own infrastructure and operations.
“About eight weeks ago, companies said to us that once things reopen, people will want to go to work but no one wants to go to work five days a week,” said Jamie Hodari, CEO of Industrious. “There’s a level of flexibility that companies are anticipating that we’re working to try and provide. But it’s pretty out there. It hasn’t traditionally existed in the real estate market.”