After considerable reading, conversations with industry colleagues and clients, general observation on how companies have been adjusting to work this past year, and how they plan to continue working post-Covid, I have realized that there are three main pillars of why we go to the office to begin with, and why the companies who have decided to make working from home the “new normal” will eventually see decreased productivity and ultimately, less success.
Company culture has always been extremely important and we have seen the focus in office decisions pivot from looking solely at price per square foot to the more objective criteria that will impact who the company is and the brand for which they stand.
Human interaction is so important to our mental and physical health. As human beings, we thrive on the physical face-to-face connection which aids in stronger relationships, employee retention, increased productivity, innovation and work performance, which are all essential in creating a successful workforce.
Recruiting and training personnel is a crucial function of any business, and having the ability to successfully hire, retain and grow the right people for your company is best accomplished in a physical workspace that promotes engagement with employers as well as their fellow employees.
I have recently heard many of the ‘big tech’ companies discuss going to a permanent work from home model. It’s undeniable that the Covid-era has thrust us into unprecedented and challenging times, but I believe it’s also important for us to take pause and recognize that it will improve with time, and with the development of therapeutic treatments and vaccines. Most people will be eager to rush back to their workplace with a deeper appreciation of what it means to be in the office with their colleagues. The in-person collaboration, the chance encounters in the hallway or breakroom that turn into brilliant ideas, as well as the opportunity to have face-time with your managers all provide an invaluable experience. Strong company culture is essential to attract new talent and retain your employees, and it is nearly impossible to create and foster a desirable company culture via ZOOM calls and emails alone.
While many landlords and retail property owners are currently facing financial strain, Denver’s fundamentals are still strong. I believe that in the next 12-18 months, the commercial real estate market will begin to come back as people more regularly return to the workplace, lunch with colleagues, meet clients for drinks after work – bringing us all a needed sense of the “back to normal” we all require to succeed, both personally and professionally.
-Solveig Tschudi Lawerence, Senior Commercial Advisor