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    The recent outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has employers around the world keeping their workforce out of the office and working from home. A recent study by Gartner* found that 88% of US businesses have encouraged or mandated their employees to work from home—a stark contrast to the 43% accustomed to working from home “sometimes”** and the comparatively tiny 5% of Americans who work from home fulltime***. This means that much of our workforce is outside of their comfort zone in these days of quarantine and social distancing. It also means that in the coming months, we will have both an influx of employees returning to the office and organizations reevaluating how much and how often their workforce actually needs to be in-office with dedicated workstations.

    Uncertainty looms as to when Americans will be returning to their offices, with estimates ranging from early May to as late as July or even August. By this time, a great deal of Americans will be acclimated to their home offices, many eager to return to the “normal” routine on a corporate campus, but also many realizing that they could have likely done their job from home all along. It’s no secret that people and property encapsulate a majority of corporate expenses, and with unemployment rising amidst a worrisome economy, it’s expected that many of America’s businesses will need to reevaluate their real estate costs. This means many of us should expect this “work from home” culture to stick around as organizations’ footprints are reallocated.

    What does this mean for your employees or for you as a worker? Expecting many organizations to abandon the 1:1 ratio for workers per workstation is a no-brainer. Allowing certain departments, who saw minimal decline in productivity while being office-absent, to keep a regular cadence of working remotely seems like another likely scenario. It’s easy to see how this crisis is introducing a layer of flexibility to work in nearly every industry, especially traditional office environments. We have been forced to work from home with little warning, sparking resilience and adaptability in the workforce. This also means that when we return to the office we could see a surge in office scrutinization and a massive push towards hoteling as cost savings measures. Sensor studies, measurement platforms, and campus apps are some key tools in a prime position to assist organizations in making some of these tough decisions in the coming months.

    Here at AVUITY, we are taking this time to ramp up our world-class space utilization software and occupancy sensor platform, to help organizations both understand office usage and equip employees to more easily find and secure spaces as assigned workstations continue to disappear. We know that change can be difficult for end users, so we are expanding our focus on employee experience by refreshing the AVUITY app for finding spaces and overhauling our reporting and analytics dashboard to assist real estate executives in pulling valuable insights from their corporate footprint. We understand this pandemic has been difficult for corporations—large and small alike—and we are here to help you prepare for the changes to come.

    *Gartner.com
    **Gallup.com
    ***qz.com

    Based in Atlanta, Jarrod is a solutions-focused leader with a history of supporting the technology and collaboration needs of his clients. He has experience as a consultative sales specialist and technology subject matter expert across the southeast US market as well as New York City. Jarrod joined AVUITY in 2019, having nearly 10 years of technology industry experience with international firms such as Steelcase and AT&T.