DENVER (CBS4) – With case numbers falling, vaccinations rising, and mask orders dropping, the return to the office for thousands of Colorado workers is imminent. Commercial real estate firms say companies are contacting them to discuss what the return on investment will be for a majority of the workforce.
“Most companies said, ‘What do we need when things get back to normal? But we have to be together. ‘ And companies recognize this importance, ”said Peter Schippits, President of the Mountain-Northwest Division of CBRE.
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The return could be different for many workers, with hybrid or flexible time in the office. CBRE has conducted studies that suggest that most employees return to the office one day less on average than they did before the pandemic.
“The offices on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will be pretty much full as they were before, and that will reduce the ability for companies to reduce their overall footprint because people want to be there together,” Shippits said. “What we find is that no matter what, when people come into the office, they want to be with their teams when they are there.”
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Because the entire workforce is unlikely to be in the office five days a week, personalized offices are losing popularity. Companies are looking for possible new floor plans, do without permanent cubicles and offer a varied environment, from individual offices to huddle rooms and open spaces for informal meetings.
“You will need more space for things like social distancing, that will change forever. What hasn’t gone away is cleanliness, HVAC systems, things that people have on their minds who know this won’t be the only time there will be a health hazard, “Shippits said.
So far, Shippits says he’s heard of businesses with lots of downtown space that they expect to return later this summer. But office space occupancy is already increasing in the suburbs of Denver.
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“I think it’s natural to see that the city center is lagging behind. But in the last few weeks the numbers in the city center have increased quite dramatically, ”Shippits said.