These office location considerations can help ensure long-term success post-pandemic
Even when so many Americans are working from home due to a global pandemic, the office is still relevant, with 94% of employees wanting the option to enter one. And determining the right location for yours remains a key factor in creating a resilient business plan. It can help attract and retain the best people, many of whom keep a close eye on where they’re based to optimize work-life balance—something 72% of employees prioritize. It also can save you money, provide access to valuable resources, and more.
And while some factors that determine the right location may have shifted during COVID-19, the fact remains: Leveraging the right data can help you make smarter decisions about your office, whether you’re trying to confirm that your office is already in its ideal location or explore other options. Reshape the way you approach real estate planning by understanding why the right location can boost your organization’s long-term performance—and how the right data and analytics can help.
1. It can help enhance employee health and well-being
Relocating to a new building can help create an environment that prioritizes employee health and well-being when the two matter more than ever.
Prior to COVID-19, companies were focused on improving the human experience to ensure the office is a place where employees want to be, rather than a place where they have to be. COVID-19 accelerated the trend, placing health as a central focus: Many employees today want assurance that their office building and its systems are working to keep them safe, healthy and productive in the office. And most tenants feel the same: In a recent JLL survey, 73% of tenants polled now place an increased emphasis on employee well-being and safety. Improved air filtration systems, essential to reducing the spread of the virus, and natural light availability, known to boost employee well-being and productivity, will become mandatory for selective tenants rather than optional. Completely contactless security, elevator and access technologies will also become standard practice moving forward.
If your current office doesn’t properly support the physical, psychological and social wellbeing of your employees, consider relocating to one that does. Building managers and landlords today are placing building health higher on their agenda, using technologies to benchmark and continuously monitor factors such as air and water quality, moisture and noise. You can assess workplace productivity by analyzing how investments in healthy, sustainable workplaces offer opportunity for cost savings.
2. It can help you attract and retain top talent
Before the pandemic, people valued proximity to public transportation and amenities such as shopping and dining when choosing their employer, making office location a key factor in a company’s hiring and retention abilities. Location is even more critical today: Even though 74% of employees worldwide want the option to return to an office, they also enjoy having a shorter or no commute more than any other perk provided by working from home.
As a result, there’s now a push to adopt more agile real estate solutions to boost worker flexibility. For instance, some companies located in major central business districts (CBD) are considering developing satellite offices by dispersing a percentage of their current office footprint to areas outside the CBD. By opening satellite offices, your company can be closer to groups of current and future employees who live farther from the main office and prefer shorter commutes. Active transportation such as walking and cycling, as well as emerging last-mile solutions, should also be considered.
But that’s not to say the old perks don’t have value. Public transit and amenities still matter. But how much they matter depends on the needs of your people and your organization. By leveraging the appropriate data and analytics, you can compare the factors that matter most to your employees and your business.
3. It can help you leverage incentives
Cost has long factored into a company’s choice of location, as certain areas have higher taxes and more onerous regulations. But as businesses work to quickly realign their spending and improve their agility amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact, there's even greater interest in finding ways to reduce costs.
When choosing a location, it’s important to investigate the incentives your business can receive. There are often opportunities to save money by taking advantage of tax relief, direct grants, employee training, forgivable loans and more.
Additionally, relocating to a lower-cost market with a desirable talent pool can help you save money without sacrificing your ability to attract and retain skilled employees. With the right data and tools, you can explore markets and compare scenarios to identify the right one for your business.
4. It can help you gain access to resources
There’s a reason why certain regions of the U.S. are associated with a specific industry, such as Silicon Valley with high technology or Boston with life sciences. By clustering with other companies in the same industry, you can gain access to a wellspring of valuable resources such as a better, bigger talent pool; regulatory bodies; investors and other economies of scale. And even if you’re unable to make a meaningful investment in pricier markets, you can consider more affordable markets that also are seeing growth in clustering—like Austin for technology or Raleigh for Life sciences. When deciding on a location, it’s important to factor in your business strategy, your industry and where your biggest competitors are located. Clustering accordingly can put you in closer proximity with clients, suppliers and more, providing access to valuable resources that will help your business thrive down the road. By leveraging location analytics, you can gain a better understanding of your office location options.
Finding the right location for your office can set your business up for long-term success post-pandemic. And if the process seems daunting, ask for help. The right partner will be able to point you in the right direction, help put together the right strategy that aligns to your organization’s need and objectives, leverage leading technology and foresee and prevent possible challenges.
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