Most businesses are downsizing their office - but still making workers come in

Workers at computers in an office
(Image credit: Unsplash / Israel Andrade)

New research has claimed that although four in five offices have downsized since the pandemic, with many doing so to curb costs, many are still asking their employees to commute.

The report by Robin found Nine in 10 (88%) businesses were found to be mandating office-based working despite reducing their total office footprints.

Moreover, the study reveals the uncertain future of fixed office spaces as more companies look to cut costs, leaving a big question mark over the global return-to-office shift.

The future of office-based working

Although a large number of organizations have already downsized, the problem clearly hasn’t been fixed. A further three-quarters plan to reduce their office square footage again next year, and 82% are worried that their company may not be able to keep its office space.

The survey of more than 500 business owners revealed that, currently, around half (56%) of workforces are based in the office full-time. Another two in five are hybrid, leaving only 4% fully remote. 

While many big tech companies are asking their workers to be in the office at least three days per week, Robin found that the majority (52%) are asking workers for four days of their time. A quarter (26%) must abide by three-day-per-week rules, 16% for two days, and a tiny 3% for just one day. 

The number of companies asking workers to return to the office now stands at 88%, up nearly 20% compared with last year, likely as companies look to fill seats and justify spending money on office space.

Looking ahead, 69% of those planning to downsize will do so by 50% or more despite a clear interest in addressing the evolving needs of workers – more than half (53%) now have wellness spaces, while many more have separate quiet rooms and lounge areas.

The conflict between what workers want and what companies are able to supply is clearly putting organizations under pressure, and adding a mix of hybrid and in-person working is only complicating the matter further.

There is a rose among the thorns, though. Robin found that even more companies are able to pay less for their office spaces as property owners look to beat the real estate contraction, which means if you’re in need of an expansion, now could be the time to negotiate a better deal.

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Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!