Determine what to do with your office space and how to motivate your employees making the commute.

All signs point to hybrid work environments becoming the norm. According to a study by Gallup, about 53% of workers expect a hybrid work arrangement when asked where they plan to work long term and 24% say they expect to work exclusively remotely.

But as a business owner, you are tasked with determining if your office space is still necessary and how much of it you now need. Additionally, you’ll have to balance supporting the flexibility that employees demand with getting use of the office space you’re paying for.

What to do with your office space

No one can quite predict what will happen with commercial real estate nationally, but experts are saying pre-pandemic occupancy levels, in general, are unlikely to return because so many workers can operate remotely. That begs the question of what business owners should do with existing office spaces whose full capacity is no longer required.

A couple things are clear.

If you own your office space, you could sell all or part of it to downsize. You could also repurpose the space for a different use for own business, creating more collaborative or fun spaces. You may even consider leasing out a portion to another company that’s seeking space. Because of the dwindling demand, it’s predicted some companies will look to upgrade their office spaces by migrating into the nicer buildings in town.

If you lease your office space, you might not be able to make a move until your lease is up. You can consider negotiating with your landlord; some will probably be more flexible than others. If they want to keep you in place for the long term, they may be more willing to work with you if you’re looking to just reduce your space.

How to engage employees in the office

If you are going to implement a hybrid working policy, consider how you should set up your office space to account for this approach. You may focus your office space more on collaborative spaces, like conference tables, meeting rooms and hangout spots. After all, people who are coming into the office are often in search of connecting with their coworkers.

While not all companies can offer a host of perks to entice people to come in the office, consider doing a survey to see if a weekly eventrallies everyone to come in on a specific day or the promise of an after-hours happy hour excites people enough to make the drive, for example. Another idea? Host optional in-office programs, like an exclusive speaker who helps you with your LinkedIn personal branding or a professional photographer who’s snapping new headshots.

Not everyone will be lured back for the same reasons. It will take open communication with employees and trial and error to see what’s working. You might be surprised by what people are motivated by. Regardless, now’s the time to recalibrate and think about what will make your team’s in-office experience a worthwhile one.

If you’re unsure what to do with your office space:

  • Survey employees to see what their working preferences are.
  • Consider making a permanent move to a smaller footprint to save money.
  • Set up the office space you have to foster collaboration and connection.


This material has been created by Raymond James for use by its financial advisors.