Offices Are Going to Get Smaller After This. Except Maybe for Salesteams.

Gartner recently did a survey of 317 CFOs and finance professionals, and found the vast majority plan to permanently shift to more remote work going forward.  This doesn’t mean letting their loffice eases expire.  It does mean cramming more folks into the same or even less space.

The one exception seems to be sales teams.  Only 8% of sales leadership planned to make related changes here.  The boiler room remains a piece of the core sales toolkit, at least for now.  It still sounds like sales, as we’ve discussed before, is likely the last function to go more / fully distributed.

This just makes sense.  When I worked at a top tech company during the transition to open floorplans, the real driver wasn’t collaboration.  It was the massive savings in real-estate costs … a 40% savings.  40% more folks could be fit into an open floorplan vs offices.

Even with a modest home office allowance, having say 20%-30% of traditional tech companies employees primarily work from home will result in massive real estate cost savings.  Along with a whole new need to re-focus on security and better “hot desk” formats.  Many of you will lose even a dedicated desk when we go back to the office.  Offices won’t actually shrink.  It’s more that adding additional space will be deferred much longer.  We’ll end up fitting another 20%-30% more folks into the spaces we already have.

CFOs will be excited to provide folks a $2,000 home computer and IT allowance when it saves them $20,000 a year.

We will go back to the office.  Maybe even for some of us, fairly soon.  But it will be a different office.  The cost savings are just too compelling.  CFOs are going to drive more change here than we’ve seen in a decade.  We’ve seen it before.

 

 

Published on April 13, 2020

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