The Future of Your Office – There’s a Lot to Consider
Anne Van Delst, CPA, CA, LPA
Partner, Assurance & Advisory Services
More and more businesses are beginning to re-open their offices as we begin to see some light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. Many business owners are simultaneously contemplating their future office needs. There are many things to consider in determining your office requirements, ranging from short-term cost reductions to long-term company goals. Some of the key considerations are discussed in more detail below.
How much space do I need?
At first, the answer to this simple question seems straight-forward, but the more we dig into it, the more complicated it can get. Let’s start with the basics: How often will your employees be required to be in the office, and will they all come in on the same days, or be staggered? How might those needs change in the years ahead? How much do you hope to grow your business in the coming years? Planning a few years ahead will save a lot of time, energy and money.
What is the space being used for?
Using the office to foster collaboration, facilitate sector and company specific learning and a shared sense of mission are the goals of the office of the future. Can your office set up facilitate that kind of interaction so that days in the office are seen as beneficial and even enjoyable for employees? Employees have embraced the opportunity to work from home and a majority of office-based employees want to continue either working from home, or have a hybrid model.
Real and intangible cost of working from home
Reducing or eliminating office space offers some attractive cost savings options for employers over the long term, but offsetting these saving will be the need for continued investment in IT infrastructure, cyber security and enhanced internal financial controls. Companies will need to analyze the overall impact of the various options so that they are able to make an informed decision.
Interaction amongst team members in an office environment results in many positive attributes that contribute to a company’s long-term success and can also play an important part in overall job satisfaction. If staff resent the days they must come into the office, they may not stick around long if other employers are offering them flexibility. The cost of recruitment and training for new staff could increase considerably if companies are unable to adapt to the new work environment. There is a war for talent on at the moment and the cheapest option is to retain current employees.
Ultimately, the decision to keep, reduce or eliminate office space is a not merely a financial decision. Carefully consider all the variables and evaluate the pros and cons for the short and long term. The decision may not be the same for everyone, so take the time to ensure you make the decision that is right for you.