Is the office dead?

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With so many people working from home during the COVID-19 panic, there are a lot of questions as to whether the office, as we’ve known it for years, is dead.

Courtney Rubin, writing at Medium, thinks so. In fact, she says the market should prepare for the commercial real estate apocalypse.

“From startups and tech giants to more old-school Wall Street firms, businesses are rethinking the role of office space and whether they even need it,” she wrote.

“If, in the old world, an office was a form of corporate peacocking — a flashy location in some iconic building with a boutique-hotel level of design for clients, employees, customers, and investors— in the new world, it is becoming a very costly line item that could be reduced to the equivalent of a single flagship store.

“Instead of a sprawling, capital-intensive, real-world footprint, all the work can be done virtually, with one scaled-down symbolic home base left for critical face-to-face conversations, like meeting with clients or wooing talent,” she added.

In her article, Courtney mentions the CEO of a software company in Austin, Texas. He pays $25,000 per month for 1,800 square feet of office space for less than 30 employees.

With his lease up in August, he was scouting locations for 10,000 square feet of space at, presumably, an even greater cost. Then the COVID-19 panic arrived.

After his employees were required to work from home, apparently they liked it — and productivity wasn’t impacted. In fact, half of his staff now say they would be perfectly content to continue working from home.

If so, business executives around the country will be rethinking their need to spend a small fortune on office space, equipment, furniture and utilities when that money could be reinvested into higher pay for quality work-from-home staff.

Google already announced they are pulling out of deals to lease more than 2 million square feet of office space, Courtney noted. Yikes!

It will be an interesting trend to watch.

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Greg Gerber

A native of Wisconsin who moved to Arizona in 2009, Greg Gerber is a DODO -- Dad of Daughters Only -- to three grown daughters. He worked as a journalist for many years before pursuing a career as a faith-based writer, author, coach and speaker. Greg is the author of Pornocide: How Lust is Killing Your Faith, Stealing Your Joy and Destroying Your Life.

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