You entered the door, and as you stepped foot into the once crowded hall, you knew something has changed. And you knew it’s going to last for a while. Or maybe, forever.
Once filled with the sound of office murmurs and keyboard clicks, a deafening dead air now replaces the halls. Those desks, once filled with hardworking computers and piles of papers, are dusty—untouched for more than a year now.
New York City has seen the highest record of office vacancy in 27 years, with an 11.3% increase. It’s been a year since the pandemic has forced companies to send their employees to a work-from-home setup. And now, companies are contemplating on whether to keep their office space or not.
With the rate it’s going, it looks like remote work or hybrid work, at the very least, will be the new normal. So as an employer, do you think it’s time to give up your office space?
What to Do with Your Office Space
Now that vaccinations are already rolling, and somehow, things are going back to normal, you probably think things are going back to normal. But, experts are saying that this pandemic is actually introducing a paradigm shift in the work setup. This is mainly because most employees are seeing the benefits of working remotely.
In a recent survey, 81% of working professionals said they enjoy working remotely. Meanwhile, 29% said they are willing to resign from their jobs if their employer does not allow them to work remotely.
It will be challenging to decide whether to keep or give up your current office space, especially if you don’t see your employees going back sooner. To help you with your decision-making, here are some points to consider:
What kind of setup will you implement when the pandemic is over?
Are you going to require all your employees back to the office? Has your company recovered enough to cover the costs of an office setup? Considering that some work can be done remotely, won’t it be an excellent cost-cutting strategy to keep half of your employees on a remote setup?
If you are leaning more towards a hybrid setup, it will be good to let go of your office space or settle on a smaller one.
Does the nature of the job require physical meetings?
Review your work dynamics within the company. Does the team need to communicate face-to-face to achieve your business goals? Can a task be completed without having to go to the office? Can the whole team work efficiently, even with Zoom huddles and meetings? If yes, then maybe it’s really time to go remote.
Are your finances stable enough to cover the office rent and expenses?
Everyone has been affected by the pandemic, and your business is most likely recovering in this state. Holding an office does not only include rent. It also includes maintenance and operations costs. Keeping the remote setup while making sure your employees do their jobs efficiently will save you money.
However, if you have decided to keep a remote or hybrid work setup, you can think of other creative ways to keep your office space. You might want to consider converting it into another form and use it for another purpose.
Here are some suggestions on what to do if you’re not yet ready to let go of your office space:
Convert it into a home extension.
Many employers are now redesigning their office space into a cozy and homey area for their families. It can be a small condo where the family can stay in the middle of the city. For this project, it’ll be best to hire an interior designer to convert your space into a more open layout and employ a home electrician for electrical maintenance. This way, it will be easy for you to reconvert it into an office if you decide to do so in the future.
Convert it into a storage area.
If you don’t want to lose the space, you can convert it into a storage area to hold all your office supplies. At least, you can still have your space without the extra operational expenses. You can also secure all your office equipment until such day you go back to full operations.
Have it rented.
If you own the property, you can consider converting it into an income-generating property. You can have it rented for a period while the rest of your team is on remote work. This will be additional revenue for the company.
It is risky for businesses to continue operating during this pandemic, so you have to be wise with your assets. If your office space is more of a liability than an asset, then you may consider making any of these suggestions. Again, the goal is to continue the operations with minimal costs.