The Amazing Kreskin would be impressed with all of the predictions that have emerged during the year as to what our new world will look like. While some of these prognostications will be spot on, many will fade away as we return to “business as usual,” albeit with an asterisk attached.
One of my responsibilities as the Director of Economic Development for the Town of Collierville is to stay abreast of the latest trends in office development. We are well-positioned to take full advantage of all the strategic development opportunities that come in our direction. With the recent impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the office market, let’s explore what the future of the office environment might look like and how Collierville’s burgeoning office market will fit in.
I’m Out Of Here
The new work-at-home model has left many metro dwellers contemplating whether their living space is worth the hassle and expense. Pre-pandemic, roughly 5-10% of employees worked remotely. Presently, that figure has spiked to nearly half. Many corporations have announced that their teams will work remotely indefinitely, while others have stated it will be early 2021 before they are “back to normal.”
Azurite Consulting, a market research organization, discovered that 55% of companies in cities such as Chicago and San Francisco are considering moving. Other industry surveys have found that one quarter of Americans are strongly considering a permanent move because of the pandemic. The expense, crowding and crime in large metro areas have many companies and individuals looking deeply at how and where they work.
This trend could benefit Collierville as we could see not only new citizens looking for a lower cost, less dense and safer community to work remotely from, but also corporate relocations for the same reasons. We are in constant contact with commercial real estate communities in cities such as Boston, D.C. and Chicago, telling our story, promoting our brand and making the case for Collierville as an office relocation option.
I Need My Space
I remain optimistic that corporate headquarters, regional and district offices, tech centers and R&D facilities are not going away entirely, just being reconfigured. Studies have shown that the work-from-home model has damaged company culture, impacted on-boarding and disconnected vital work teams. In turn, corporations are working hard on sanitation technologies and building designs that are adaptable for the “office of tomorrow.” Many buildings are outdated and do not match what will be required as we all move forward. This is good news for Collierville, as we have over 500 acres of developable land where the “offices of tomorrow” could be built in our community.
Companies are keenly aware that their workers need to be nearer to the office, with many considering downsizing headquarters and providing more space in suburban buildings. I share all of this to point out that the way and where we work will continue to change. New office layouts that focus on spacing, sanitation technology, efficiency and cost reduction will position Collierville to take full advantage of what is unfolding.
Gone are the days of ping-pong and kombucha being the cool office perk. Today, it is about flexibility, safety and access. The office is simply evolving and Collierville is perfectly positioned to be a key player in the “office of tomorrow.”
John D. Duncan
Director of Economic Development
500 Poplar View Parkway
Collierville, TN 38017