The novel coronavirus. COVID-19. Remote working is the new norm, get used to it. Digitalization is the only way to keep the lights on. Looming economic recession. — Yeah, you might be familiar with these phrases already. We all are. But the big question that’s on every digital business owner’s mind right now is, “Should I vacate my office and save on the lease now that my employees are working remotely?” The short answer to this question is, “It depends.” Here’s why.
If you’re a traditional office space owner…
You have signed a lease on a huge office space for housing your employees, enabling them to collaborate and get work done. But now, you find your office space empty as a bird’s nest in December. And you’re thinking,” Should I give up my office space altogether and move my employees entirely to a remote working model? ” Try not to get carried away by current trends. Because, as we all know already, everything is in a constant state of change. The coronavirus pandemic is no exception to this. According to an Oxford University epidemiologist, professor Sunetra Gupta, the coronavirus pandemic will end naturally and become part of our lives just like influenza.
Things won’t be the same when the coronavirus pandemic does end, but that doesn’t mean offices will remain shut. After all, we are human beings — and we crave face-to-face in-person interactions to fulfill our emotional and intellectual needs. So employees going back to their offices is inevitable. Maybe due to layoffs, some companies might see fewer employees coming to the office after the pandemic ends. In addition to this, since companies will have to follow social distancing norms laid down by the government, they’ll have to allow only a certain number of employees at scheduled times to work in the office.
Keeping all these in mind here’s what you can do if you have an empty office space lying around:
1. Reducing the office size
If your company owns a certain number of floors in buildings in various countries/cities, you can talk to the building owners about paying the lease for only one story and giving up the other levels. This ensures that your business doesn’t have to layoff employees just to maintain those unwanted office spaces. You can then split that single office floor conforming to the social distancing norms and invite employees over at scheduled times to collaborate with each other effectively and make use of your office space instead of working remotely.
2. Moving to a flexible office space
This is for companies who want to follow a hybrid remote working model. If your company is like that, then it’s best if you give up your traditional office space altogether and sign a lease with coworking spaces (where your employees are located) on owning a single floor in their building so that your employees can collaborate and work privately. This also ensures that any kind of confidential information stays within that space.
3. Having a virtual office
Okay, this might sound a bit controversial but hear me out. You can sign a lease on a Virtual Office that’s in a location you want your company’s headquarters to be in, and you and your employees can continue working remotely, turning up at the virtual office only for meetings with clients. The virtual office will have a receptionist to tend to clients in-person and on calls as well as a scanner to scan all the incoming letters and send it back to you for getting your response and sending a reply letter to them based on that. Handy, right?
If you’re a freelancer or a startup owner…
Coworking spaces are your best bet. But you know this already. I would recommend you choose a coworking space that’s following de-densification and hygiene practices seriously. A safe coworking space is one that’s not jam-packed with people, has all its hot desks six feet apart, and its doors and elevators geared up with movement detection and voice command recognition for contactless operations. The coworking space’s air conditioners should be fitted with proper air filtrations systems, and restrooms and pantries should be designed in a way that ensures adequate social distancing. Materials inside the coworking space should be antimicrobial and have easy to clean surfaces for proper disinfection. All these ensure you can collaborate and work safely with your colleagues/employees and strengthen the community spirit within the coworking space.
So, that’s it. These are some of the things you should keep in mind while deciding on what to do with your office now that your business has transitioned to remote working. Hope you got some kind of clarity. If you’re looking to make it even more easier on your employees who are working remotely, check out how some companies are following a hybrid work model and a four day work week to ensure their employees’ well-being.
And don’t forget, we are all in this together. Stay connected. Stay safe.