At NTI, we take pride in sharing with our clients issues and changes that may affect their business. Most or all of our businesses have felt the impact of Covid since the beginning of 2020. Now, as we begin to emerge from the worst pandemic in over 100 years, there is mounting evidence that office renovations in a post Covid world will look different than it did just 5 years earlier.
Responding to the Covid Crisis
One of the definitions of “crisis” per Merriam-Webster is: “an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending”. The Covid crisis fits this definition well.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an intergovernmental economic organization with 38 member countries. In 2020, the OECD published, “The territorial impact of COVID-19: Managing the crisis across levels of government” which predicted changes that were happening then, or would be coming.
BisNow’s Patrick Sisson published on May 8, 2022 “ ‘Onslaught’ Of Office Renovations Taking Place As Companies Redesign Spaces For Hybrid Work”. In Sisson’s article, he reported an “onslaught” of building renovations happening right now, according to CBRE Global Head of Occupier Thought Leadership Julie Whelan. Whelan said, ”Office construction is falling off a cliff,”. Also in the article and related to the same point, Kermit Baker, AIA Chief Economist, said that for the first time ever, architectural firms are making more income from renovation work than new construction.
Working from Home versus In the Office
Many employers who previously were not proponents of working from home were forced to embrace remote working arrangements as the Covid crisis spread from coast to coast. The remote workforce was initially perceived as a temporary solution, expecting that employees would soon be back at their desks. However, it quickly became clear that there was no finite timeframe for how long we would be working from home. As a result, companies enacted new policies to help streamline efforts in the new remote environment. It became commonplace to rely on remote collaboration, and have meetings without conference rooms effectively and efficiently.
Fast Forward Two Years…
Employees who had been accustomed to a daily commute had now experienced a different working environment. Depending on company policies, employees may have been home for 6-8 months, for a year or even 2+ years. Without the confines of a commute to work at the office, the traditional 8 hour work day became less rigid. People learned what it meant not to have a commute which may have been 10 minutes, but may have been an hour or more each way. Instead of driving each morning to be at the office for 8 hours, they might now be able to work in their pajamas before they eat breakfast. They may be able to take a 2 or 3 hour break in the middle of the day to be engaged with their daughter's school, then work later after dinner. The new norm allowed far more flexibility with their children, spouses and life in general.
At the same time, Covid raised our collective awareness. In the interest of safety, were taught about masks and social distancing. Interpersonal behavior changed as we were reminded often to avoid close contact, and to wash our hands after touching things in stores that dozens or hundreds of other people had previously touched. Even the classic handshake became a fist bump, or a wave.
It is no wonder that there is growing resistance to going back to the status quo of 2019.
A Surge of Office Redesigns and Office Renovations
The Covid crisis created an environment where the stars are aligned for societal change. Core issues that will drive that change are employee expectations (they want flexibility), health concerns, inflation and rising interest rates. These and other market conditions are fueling a trend toward renovation projects, in response to the lessons learned since “Covid” became a household word. While every market may certainly be affected by the events of the last 2+ years, it seems fairly certain that there will be an increase of office renovations in a post Covid world.
NTI is a full line technology consulting firm. We are pure consultants whose sole focus is to provide the best value technology solutions for our clients with our full-time professional staff. Our project managers are credentialed with industry designations such as RCDD, RCDD/NTS, CTS, CTS-D, and PMP.
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