Commercial Real Estate|Thought Leadership|Trends|

The office sector is adapting to COVID-19 realities, but many changes are in service to a constant, the need for collaboration and personal connection at work.

The only constant in life is change, a wise man once said. We don’t think he was an office real estate pro, but his age-old platitude certainly applies to the sector. In the past year, COVID-19 has drastically changed how we gather together to both work and play.

Owners, developers and architects in the $2 trillion industry are working hard to update spaces so that companies can once again collaborate face to face, without concern for microbes or mute buttons. Design-wise, offices are taking on elements of hospitals – we hope that food is not one of them! – rather than hospitality and increasing unit sizes while adding outdoor spaces and flexible workspace areas, according to experts at a Bisnow webinar. Enhanced air filtration and antibacterial surfaces are a big focus in the fight against viral spread. Despite talk of hybrid work setups and variable shifts, hot-desking may not be as hot of an idea after the pandemic retaught us the value of personal space.

Perhaps the more things change — in the physical office environment — the more they stay the same, as in more and more companies are planning a full or mostly full return to the office. Only 17 percent of CEOs said that they will downsize their company’s footprint, according to the 2021 CEO Outlook Pulse Survey from KPMG (reported by GlobeSt.). Back in August 2020, the global accounting firm found that 69 percent of CEOs said they would reduce their office footprint.

When a company occupying more than 44 million square feet of office space worldwide announces its intention to return to the office “pretty much as we were pre-COVID,” that says quite a lot. That’s what Amazon Vice President of Global Real Estate and Facilities John Schoettler told Bisnow, with hopes for a fall return timetable.

Another multi-trillion-dollar industry, that of wellness, has certainly grown closer to the office sector during the pandemic year. But even that important priority is eclipsed by the human need for social interaction. As much as the office landscape has changed since March 2020, people still need that personal connection at the office, from the residential and retail industries to healthcare and beyond. You see it in Amazon’s plan and we feel it at infinitee in all we do.

With all due respect to our lead logician, the only other constant is connection. We need it in business — certainly high-impact marketing — and life in general. infinitee’s belief in endless possibilities and great ideas in marketing real estate comes ingrained with the values of teamwork, personal engagement, and customer service. We are thankful for the virtual value that tools like Zoom provide us to connect and collaborate from afar, but that face-to-face shared experience will always fuel us as brand makers, storytellers and creative advocates to not only deliver results, but do so with a fun, personal touch.


The return to the office is one well-supported viewpoint,  but there are also plenty of benefits to consider with work from home and flex scheduling. 

STAY TUNED for Part 2 of this conversation!


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