Prepare to return to a (very different) office

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Welcome to Worksheet, a new newsletter on how people work smarter in these turbulent times.

In this second edition of the worksheet, columnist S. Mitra Kalita explores what the post-pandemic office might look like.


There is no going back to what was. The past nine months have forced a drastic reset of work, home and all points in between. The upheaval in commercial real estate is allowing businesses to be more selective about their needs, from open windows to declining employee / bathroom ratios. An uncertain pandemic economy means expansion for some sectors and downsizing for others. And studies show that more than a fifth of adults have moved due to COVID or know someone who has done it; how it affects their desire or ability to commute remains another unknown.

“The location of the office space may not change much,” said Carmen Perkins, executive vice president of Washington, DC-based Civitas Commercial Real Estate Services LLC. “It’s the use of that space that exchange.”

Post-pandemic offices will focus more particularly on creating and representing the culture of a company. This mission will animate physical spaces with more sub-committee rooms and meeting places. It will dictate who comes to the office and why. Reasons to get together: integration, training, meetings, team building and collaboration.

“We are the quintessential technology company. We have the most flexible work schedule, ambitious paternity and maternity programs, unlimited vacations, ”said Nick Romito, Founder and CEO of VTS, a technology platform for commercial real estate. “Even as liberal as we are to give people flexibility, it’s still very difficult. You invest all that time in building a great team, these teams want to be together. It’s really hard to push your mind when you’re staring at a screen all day. “


Kalita goes on to explore four other surprising ways to change the way we use office spaces.

Read the full column here.

Let us know what you think of Worksheet, tell us what you would like to read in the next columns, or share the challenges you face in your own workplace. contact us at smarterworking@fortune.com.

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