With everything currently in flux, is it time to lose the office?

Posted by Mark Bohdanyk on August 02, 2021

It’s the million- dollar question: if employees are quitting instead of returning to the office, is it time to just give it up altogether? 

The numbers certainly seem to point that way. 20% of offices in the US will be vacant by the end of 2022. 1 in 3 CEOs are planning to reduce office space as their leases expire. 

But can we dispose of offices altogether? Or do we still need them more than we thought? 

The pros of no more offices 

  • The money 

One obvious benefit of ending your lease on prime downtown real estate is your bottom line. The average office space starts at $300 per person per month - and will be even more if you want a good view and a convenient location. 

While the cost makes sense when you need to be close to customers, partners and employees, it’s much harder to justify when you can just hop on a Zoom call. 

For many businesses, shifting that expense to invest in digital tools or strategic L&D initiatives may be a far wiser way to spend the money. 

Another nice financial perk - if you’re able to hire remotely, you may find that you can recruit more experienced or qualified candidates for lower salaries outside urban centers. 

  • The (lack of) commute 

When you close your office, you can also kiss goodbye to many of the downsides of work life - the long commute, the crowded subway, the traffic, the boxed lunches. Small wonder that fully remote teams are far happier than those still schlepping into work every day. 

Today, remote work isn’t just a nice perk - it’s a must have. In fact, 75% of workers would take a pay cut to be able to work remotely. If you want to be able to recruit top talent, you’ll need to be able to offer them remote and flexible work for at least some of the time. 

  • The joys of global hiring 

Once you’re no longer tied to a particular location, your recruitment pipeline can expand radically. You’re suddenly in the position to hire across the nation, or even across the globe. Given the ongoing talent shortage for many key roles, access to a wider candidate pool can be a huge competitive advantage. 

It’s important to note, however, that remote hiring requires a serious rethink of your recruitment processes and tools. Your digital recruitment experience will need to be seamless if you’re switching to fully remote recruiting. 

For example, if you’re using an applicant tracking system (ATS), did you know that 65% more candidates will complete the application if they don’t have to re-enter their data? Might be time to switch up that legacy system now. 

You might also want to rethink your recruitment team. Instead of relying on a single local recruitment agency, it may be a good moment to broaden your team of recruiters so that you can cover a wider geographic area. 

If you’re wanting to do this without breaking the bank, our RecruiterShare platform might be a good fit for you. RecruiterShare is basically ride sharing for recruitment - within minutes, you’re in touch with a network of expert, proven recruiters all over the country. You can easily expand your talent pool without adding unnecessary agency fees. 

There’s always a but… 

Of course, while remote working is a great solution for many employees, the majority of workers still can’t work from home. A McKinsey report found that more than half of all jobs still need to be done in person - either because they require specialist machinery, involve other people, or need to be done on location. 

Even among the roles that can be done remotely, some are still performed better in person. Tasks like coaching, teaching, employee onboarding, negotiating, decision-making, innovation and building client relationships are all more effective when done face to face, McKinsey reports. 

What’s more, many office workers want to come back to the office - just not every day. At home employees are struggling with everything from back pain (from working on a laptop at the kitchen table) to loneliness and stress. A survey by Morgan Stanley found that most employees would prefer to work from home two days a week, and spend the rest of the time in the office. 

Time to redecorate? 

For many businesses, the solution may be to keep some kind of office space, but reimagine it for today’s post-pandemic reality. 

Smaller offices or local hubs will allow people to come in on alternate days, and may be more cost-effective than a huge workplace that seats the whole team. Any savings can be redirected towards making sure that your team have the right digital tools that can be accessed both in the office and at home. 

Or you may want to retain your large office space, but redesign it as a place for collaboration, innovation, team-building and socializing, rather than focused, quiet work. For instance, instead of cubicles, you might want to switch to hot desks or meeting “pods”, and set up larger rooms for workshops and training events. 

Whether you decide to keep your office or get rid of it once and for all, one thing is certain - the world of work will never be the same. If you’d If you’d like to know more about how RecruiterShare could help your business meet the challenges of today’s post-pandemic world, please click here to read more about us - or set up a free consultation call with us.

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