How an Army of Remote Workers is Changing Commercial Real Estate

Young business people interacting in meeting at creative office.jpegThe ongoing revolution in the nature of how people work is having profound effects on the commercial real estate market. The size and configuration of workplaces varies when more workers are virtual more of the time. At the same time, companies are also considering different types of locations, expanding their horizons beyond traditional CBD and high-density suburban submarkets. 

Remote Work and Commercial Real Estate

The changes in how businesses occupy commercial real estate are coming as a result of multiple different shifts. In an increasingly connected economy, companies span more locations than ever before, leading to a more fluid workforce. This means that workers spend less time at their home office and more time moving about the company. At the same time, others spend time working at client locations. In addition, telecommuting allows workers to do their jobs from home or from just about any other location.

All of this is made possible by advances in wireless and Internet communications that let workers access corporate networks from anywhere they find themselves. 

New Space Paradigms

The old paradigm of one space per worker is rapidly breaking down. With workers having more fluid schedules and spending less time at their desks than ever before, offices with set workspaces are rapidly becoming obsolete. Instead, space planners are allotting less space per worker and setting up schemes like hoteling that allow many people to share the same workstation.

At the same time, an increasingly team-based working environment changes the type of space that people need. Instead of cubicles, more and more offices are being built with team rooms that let people work together. At the same time, they are also offering private spaces that allow workers to duck out of the fray to make a call or do uninterrupted work.

The net effect of these new paradigms is to reduce the amount of space required per employee. They also change how a space is built out, favoring flexible and semi-open spaces over a traditional blend of open cubes and private offices.

New Location Options

A more remote workforce also changes how companies choose their locations. There is less need to have a single office where everyone comes together, usually in a central business district location or in a sprawling suburban campus. Instead, companies can choose to create a space that is more convenient to where their employees live.

Another option is to choose a location that has economic development incentives available, since the role of the physical office is diminished by a remote work force. Other companies can choose to create multiple smaller offices to make it easy for their remote workers to check in or to connect to business tools and resources when they need to.

As the nature of work changes, commercial real estate is changing along with it. New space designs help to accommodate the new roles of workers in modern business. At the same time, new location types let companies balance serving their remote workforce with managing commercial real estate occupancy costs. 

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