While society begins to return to pre-pandemic normalcy, the workplace appears to be the exception to this shift. In fact, data from Kastle Systems shows that office occupancy is at 33% of its pre-pandemic levels, suggesting a more permanent movement is occurring.
It’s clear that the new ways of working are not just a temporary solution, and this has great implications on companies, cities, and geography as a whole.
“I talk to hundreds of companies about remote work, and 95 percent of them now say they’re going hybrid, while the other 5 percent are going full remote.” said Nick Bloom, an economics professor at Stanford University. “The number of person-days in the office is never going back to pre-pandemic average, ever.”
The future of the workforce is an experiment in of itself, but there will be three primary trends that define this transition:
- The death of the five-day work week
- The experimentation of hybrid work policies
- The impact of modern work policies on cities
Employees have gained a voice throughout the past two years and are sending the message that the traditional five-day work week structure will no longer cut it.
Not only is a remote or hybrid schedule beneficial to workers’ productivity, but it also helps them achieve a work-life balance that may have not been possible prior to the pandemic.
Despite this spike in productivity, levels of burnout have reached record highs, which means that business leaders abiding by new hybrid work arrangements will need to adjust and adapt to find the best method of operating for employees.
Bloom predicts that workers in the US will spend around 25% of their time working from home. However, while occupancy within offices has clearly fallen, corporate demand for office space has only dipped by around 1% according to Bloom.
This will likely lead to a decrease in office space or increase of underutilized space, meaning landlords and managers of buildings may be forced to repurpose unused space to bring occupants in.
It’s important to keep in mind that the impact of new work strategies is impacting regions differently. For instance, cities that rely heavily on public transportation, such as New York City and San Francisco, have seen ridership tumble.
This has a direct impact on transit authorities, as well as how local businesses are supported.