Returning to the Office: Texans Have Led the Way
Texas and its major metroplexes have led the way in returning to the office. Specifically, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, and Houston are leading the country for office worker return. Many companies are moving to Texas and also even relocating their headquarters to Texas which contributes to offices filling up and employees getting back to work. Early indicators steadily prove that hybrid or in-person arrangements can lead to greater employee satisfaction and productivity.
Why is the office here to stay?
Why are companies returning to the office vs. working from home?
Why was working from home a forced experiment with mixed results?
In this report, you will learn about the pitfalls of remote work and the trends driving a return to the office in Texas.
Getting Americans Back to Work
Remote work began on the largest scale in modern history due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From March 2020 through the end of the year, record numbers of people used virtual work arrangements to clock in and get their jobs done every day. While it had its pros, the fallout of this lengthy arrangement is now evident, and leaders are calling their people back to work.
Why Remote Work Shouldn’t be Permanent
Working from home makes it harder to concentrate, creates distraction in our routines, and disrupts communication.
1. According to S&P Global, roughly 55% of workers in a survey said they were both less productive and less engaged when working from home.
2. Loneliness, social anxiety, a lack of inclusiveness, burnout, and physical health issues are all disadvantages of virtual work.
3. A recent multi-country study by Eurofound and the International Labour Office found that 42% of regular at-home workers suffered insomnia, versus 29% of their colleagues at the office.
4. Innovation, collaboration, mentoring, and team building all suffer from remote work, as technology struggles to replicate physical interaction.
5. In a study by The Pandemic Impact Report, 66% of respondents report elevated worry about the health and safety of their family members and friends who work from home without any personal or physical interactions.
6. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 65% of companies are struggling to maintain morale for their at-home workforce.
Texas offices were among the first to reopen, providing a solution for the problems of remote work. Office leases in Texas cities are on an upward trend, and many landlords are improving their buildings to better accommodate employee priorities, including dedensification and clean air.
Why Big Companies Mandate Hybrid of In-Person Work Arrangements
Even large technology companies are recognizing that 100% remote work doesn’t work. This is clearly communicated by large corporations that are expanding their office footprints:
- In August 2020, Facebook signed a new lease totaling 730,000 square feet of space in NYC.
- Google announced plans to spend $7 billion in 2021 to expand its office footprint across the country.
The New Normal: Office Buildings Designed for Post-Pandemic Work
Accommodating workers’ preferences in a post-pandemic office environment is mission critical. Property owners and business leaders alike are committed to helping people feel safe and secure when they come into the office.
To see this, simply consider the high density configurations of office space that were on the rise prior to the pandemic. In 2010, there was an average of 225 square feet per employee; by 2017 that number was down to 151 square feet. That has since reversed course, and building owners and landlords are spreading people out, as well as investing in improvements for the health and wellness of employees who occupy their buildings.
Part of this push for wellness has prompted landlords to consider even the very air that employees breathe. Not all states have clean indoor air standards, but conscientious building owners have implemented high-tech air quality systems and office air purifiers. These are gaining popularity among commercial landlords, as multistage technology can effectively deactivate viruses and rid the air and surfaces of harmful bacteria, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and even Coronaviruses. Employees should feel confident returning to the office, knowing it is for their good. A back to office barometer puts Houston, Austin, and Dallas, Texas squarely on the leaderboard for these efforts. Texas remains number one of the top 10 states for rate of return to the office, as well as steady increases in building occupancy. This growth supports the local economy and its people who are returning to work happier, healthier, and more productive.