We’re currently in a period of intense fluctuation. Whether it’s international affairs, new public health guidelines, the economy, or community mindsets, absolute predictions are far from feasible.

I honestly don’t think anyone knows anything ‘for sure’ right now. It’s nearly impossible to be certain when the situation itself is changing minute-by-minute. 

But, turbulent times doesn’t mean we should be sailing blind. Sure, we may be wrong in the end, but it’s important to keep our eyes open. Looking ahead is the only way we can pivot when a tangible effect does come into play, ensuring that we’re ready to tackle the next round of obstacles.

One area that I’ve been keeping a close eye on is commercial real estate’s office space — duh. As the very nature of working culture just took a 180-degree turn from all expert expectations, the office space is navigating unknown territories. 

Here’s What We Thought Would Happen 

At the end of 2019, all of the office market reports were pointing to a huge upsurge in luxury office spaces. The industry had finally embraced that there’s no real one-track trend that can deliver optimum results. Strong company culture, productivity, profitability, and a positive reputation came from a company embracing their individuality and curating their office experience accordingly. 

‘Luxury’ manifested in many different ways for the many different types of teams that are out there. There’s the open office model, the flex-space, the shared space, the outdoor space, the modular office, the list goes on. Companies merely had to make their pick that would best facilitate success.

While everyone was expecting to be able to attain their goals in their own way, the baselines of business were relying on technology, team-centrism, and strong company cultures.

Here’s What Actually Happened

2020 has been a major model for the popular internet-meme quote ‘expectations versus reality’.

Regardless of everyone's anticipation for 2020 to be the golden year of company culture and business success, COVID-19 hit. This pandemic ushered in a set of circumstances that ventured far outside any of the predictions and forecasts that we were all standing on.

Impacting the Office Space 

While many people around the world are still working from home to no definite end, it’s clear that when we do get back to work, it will be under completely different circumstances. Social distancing, personal protective equipment, and sanitization are shaping the reality of the office scene.

For those of us who have been able to head back into the office, there are already lots of protocols and guidelines in place to facilitate a safe ‘back to work’ migration. All the while, there’s no real way to know what the office will look like in the long run.

I personally foresee a major de-densification of the space to accommodate social distancing and team safety. While it may not exactly be the good old cubicle, we won’t be seeing 2019’s popular large group tables and packed conference rooms.

One hard lesson learned from COVID-19 is that things change... quickly. In a matter of days, the situation can pivot – and we all need to be able to pivot, too. The new era of offices may come sooner than we anticipate, so be ready.

What are your prospective predictions? Share them in the comments, let’s talk!