A big debate’s brewing over what the future office environment looks like. Does everyone return to the office once safe, continue working from home, or does it look more like a blended and evolutionary process that each company (and individual) must figure out over time?
Leading tech companies like Twitter, Square and Facebook have greenlighted their employees to continue working from home if that’s their preference. And this after Square announced less than a year ago they were increasing their St. Louis area workforce from 500 to 1,400 and signed a 15-year lease for a renovated Post-Dispatch building. Or what about the new 700,000 sq. ft. campus being built in St. Louis for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to house 3,100 employees? Some organizations may not be capable of large scale remote working due to the sensitive nature of their work.
This is going to play out over several years and I think the results will be mixed. There’s tremendous value in a team being together and the social interaction occurring naturally in such settings. However, there’s corresponding value in providing flexibility to accommodate a team’s individual needs, which change with time.
It will be interesting to watch this evolve and not for the faint of heart, especially if you invest in commercial office space. On a positive note, if you’re free to work from anywhere, regardless of an organization’s physical footprint, places like St. Louis will likely come out ahead due to our top tier rankings in standard of living and affordable housing. By the way, LinkedIn just named St. Louis the best place to start a career and here’s a quick glimpse of what it’s like to be STLMade. Check us out.