The COVID pandemic has caused huge changes to how and where we work, with companies globally transitioning to remote and hybrid working models, mostly without seeing a loss in productivity.
And as economies open back up, things will not return to how they were. In America, there has been a boom of businesses opening up satellite office spaces in the suburbs, with companies eager to accommodate employees who are reluctant to return to long commutes.
Those businesses who don’t adapt, will likely see staff leave.
This is largely because the pandemic has seen a perspective shift among workers, whose values have become more aligned with improved work-life balance.
The Great Resignation:
As a result of this perspective shift, companies globally are facing “The Great Resignation”, and it is coming to Australia.
Speaking to the ABC’s This Working Life Podcast in September 2021, Behavioural Scientist at Gartner, Aaron McEwan said: “We are seeing a seismic shift in the movement of talent. People have been deeply reflecting on what’s important to them.”
Companies globally are seeing widescale cases of people quitting or changing jobs. And it is happening at every level, from retail workers to senior executives.
“The movement of talent is so significant and so sharp that its different to probably anything we have seen in living memory,” McEwan said.
That includes wanting more than a transactional worker relationship. Instead, workers are considering how their employer makes them feel? Whether they are proud to work there. And whether they are supported and invested in, he added.
“They are things that have been well underway for a long time, but the pandemic has accelerated that shift.”
He said that while Australia is a little bit behind due to the way COVID played out here, their research shows the Great Resignation will hit in March 2022.
“It will be a movement of talent that I am think we are unprepared for,” he said, adding that it will significantly impact many businesses’ growth ambitions.
However, many businesses are preparing, and retaining workers was described as one of the top strategic priorities for businesses in a 2021 Gartner report.
Why working from an office can actually help retain staff
Paradoxically, despite many people’s desire to work from home, working in an office is good for us, largely due to social bonding and friendships with colleagues.
In fact, 2018 Gallup research found that workplace friendships resulted in a decreased likelihood in looking for other job opportunities, or to accept a job offer if approached.
Other benefits of workplace friendships include:
>Increased motivation to work
>Increased likelihood to take risks that could lead to innovation
>Stronger networks and future career opportunities
>Increased likelihood to have a positive experience at work
>Decreased likelihood to have a negative experience at work
This is backed up by data analysis conducted by Glassdoor on millions of company reviews that found ‘great co-workers’ and a ‘good work environment’ are, respectively, the two most important attributes of a job.
The rise of suburban offices
Despite the social benefits of working in an office, many workers will understandably want to avoid a long daily commute to a distant desk, which is why urban office spaces are flourishing.
They offer all the social community benefits of an office, without the travel time. However they must not sacrifice good workplace design, which should foster a positive workplace culture with an environment that enables staff to come together – collaborate, exchange ideas, share knowledge and belong to a team.
Ultimately, employees should feel that their workplace environment fosters wellbeing and strengthens team bonds, both physically and using online tools.
In fact, there is no one-size-fits-all solution and the ideal office for your business will vary based on which roles are most important, how much collaboration is necessary, where other offices are located, the size of your team and numerous other factors.
Given the excellent lifestyle attributes of Manly and the Northern Beaches, combined with the factors discussed in this article, Pine Property expects already high demand for suburban office space to increase into 2022 and beyond.
To learn more about the availability of suitable office suites for establishing your regional office, please contact Pine Property today.