Let's Talk

Healthier Buildings Series: Future of Workplace Occupancy

As COVID-19 vaccines begin distribution, many in the buildings industry are wondering what workplace occupancy will look like. In this webcast session, hosts explore occupancy trends in coworking spaces, and what occupants are looking for when considering a return to the workplace. 

Webcast hosts are 75F Chief Evangelist, Bob French; Joe Aamidor, Managing Director of Aamidor Consulting; and Mary Bartlett, Chief Operating Officer at The Reserve coworking space. Joe is an expert in the smart buildings market and has extensive product management experience in the building and energy management industry. Mary is an executive with a diverse skill set in human resources, operations, strategy and client services. The Reserve has three professional coworking locations in Minnesota.

Occupancy in a Coworking Setting

Mary's Edina facility has been open for about two weeks and sees a regular influx of workers at about 45 percent occupancy. This is approximately double the occupancy statistics for the U.S.' largest metro areas, according to Kastle Systems, a security company monitoring building access activity in 10 cities to gauge occupancy as the pandemic continues. For the week of Jan. 27, the organization reported 23.8 percent average occupancy across buildings that use its security system in San Jose, Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Dallas, Chicago, Houston, and Los Angeles. 

At The Reserve, Mary points to organizations downsizing to reduce their building footprint coupled with workers' need for flexibility and a place to work outside of their homes as a primary motivator for coworking during the pandemic. Looking to the future, Mary says workers could have three workplaces: home; corporate headquarters; and a professional, community-based hub.

"Companies are really focused on their employees' mental health" Mary says in the webcast. "Being able to work somewhere that is light and bright and makes you feel good is really something important to employees."

Returning to the Workplace

Ten months into the pandemic, the return to the workplace and what that will entail is still hazy, Joe says. However, adoption of COVID-19 mitigating technology will be important down the line.

"People not necessarily coming back to the office yet is in some cases delaying the adoption of technology," he says in the webcast. " ... Because there are fewer people in the office today, we aren't making a lot of buying decisions, but we're absolutely doing a huge amount of research."

That research on building technology may be worth the time, as research Joe presents on employee outlook on working from home indicates a workforce that would like to return to in-person work to some degree.

Lauren French