Property Biz Canada

Will remote working trend kill the office market?


Advances in technology and networking have allowed a number of companies to offer employees the option to work remotely from home.

Remote working image.During my ongoing cold calling of downtown office tenants I hear this trend come up often.

Will the adoption of working from home render commercial office space obsolete?

Customers will influence trends

There are certain tenants that will continue to require traditional office space.

Any service-based industry for which clients are expected to sit down and meet with staff will need central meeting locations to do so.

Some banks, for example, will allow staff to work remotely where their roles are more internal.

The innovation of mobile mortgage brokers is also not a new trend, though they can require occasional office meetings.

Customer service, like personal or commercial banking however, will still need bricks and mortar to hang their shingle.

Medical, legal and accounting professions are a few careers that spring to mind that would have a difficult time conducting business without permanent offices.

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea

A friend of mine was recently offered a human resources position at a financial institution.

The job was set up as a remote posting so that she would not report daily to an office, rather setting up a home environment.

She has children that are in school full-time. To some people this would seem ideal.

Ultimately, she turned down the role. Toiling away at home, alone, was not something she desired. She craved the social interaction and networking opportunities a physical workplace offers.

I can report she is quite content in her decision and has already started making new work relationships.

Office isn’t dead

Regus, an international firm that provides flexible and temporary office spaces for commercial tenancies, has released a report on remote working.

It claims that although 54 per cent of employees around the world spend half their workweek somewhere other than their company headquarters — including spaces set up for remote working — not all people like to work at home.

The improvement of work/life balance is reshaping the work environment. Flexible hours, for example, mean employees can fit in time in the office as well as juggling home demands.

And not every company is slashing its office space. Apple is building approximately 260,000 square feet for a new headquarters in California.

Bucking the remote working trend

Google recently spent $1.9 billion to buy a city block in New York City to house its employees.

And Yahoo banned working from home not too long ago in an effort to ignite more collaboration.

In Saskatoon, we aren’t seeing a mass exodus of people moving into home offices but there are certainly more options than ever before for employees.

Creating an environment where staff feel comfortable and want to spend time in the workplace is not just something your millennials will appreciate — it will appeal to any employee.

Which begs the question, is your office inviting?

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Kelly Macsymic

About the Author ()

I am a gal of all trades and wear a few hats at my current job though nothing quite as esteemed as my 1996 Unity Western Days Rodeo Queen crowned cowboy hat. I spend my time as a sales and leasing agent at ICR Commercial Real Estate (ICR), in addition to my other gig as general sidekick and business manager for Barry Stuart at Stuart Commercial. Inc. I started my journey in the small town of Unity, SK. My grandmother encouraged me to create mock newspapers which I, like any good keener, produced in abundance. My early publication days came to a quick end when I broke the news in one of these homemade papers with word of a surprise birthday party for my grandfather, and proudly presented it to him. Undaunted, I pursued the news bug all the way to Lethbridge College and was gainfully employed for several years in weekly papers in rural Saskatchewan. After a few adventures at the University of Regina and abroad in England, opportunity knocked and I accepted the chance to move to Saskatoon. I landed at Barry’s doorstep and have since been taken under his wing. He’s shown me the ropes at ICR through his most capable hands as one of ICR’s top producers. We are a dynamic team. I relish the challenges (most of the time) he throws at me daily. My other commitments include BPW (Business and Professional Women) Saskatoon in addition to volunteering as president of the Holliston Community Association.

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