Will the work frome home model survive after COVID?

Will the WFH Model Survive Past COVID?

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused companies across the globe to adopt a work-from-home (WFH) model. Employees have been forced to set up at-home offices while all meetings have shifted to using virtual platforms such as Zoom. It has been almost a year now since this conversion happened, but we finally see the finish line. With vaccines rolling out nationwide, companies are beginning to plan for the transition back to what we previously called “normal.” However, the question now is what will the new normal be? Will companies return to traditional office space? Will they continue to use the WFH model? Or will they adopt a blend of the two?

Robert Rader and Eric Paulsen from Topside Real Estate, both seasoned experts in Orange County office space, share their insights on how office space will survive past the COVID-19 pandemic. Both agree that although companies are experiencing improved bottom lines while utilizing a WFH model, the model will not stick. Here’s why!

1. Video Conferencing Is Not A Solution

Although video calls have been a great resource to use during the pandemic, their effectiveness is not sustainable for the long term.

Video Calls Result in Poor Communication


According to Rader, only news anchors and entertainers have the necessary skills to communicate through video conferencing. This is because most employees today have years of experience developing and improving their in-person communication skills. Transitioning to video conferencing requires a new set of skills that could pose financial risks to companies, especially those that rely on effective communication for performance.

Multiple People Cannot Speak at Once


Creative thinking and group discussions often require focused interaction between employees. As debates heat up and individuals get excited, creative juices start to flow. However, this phenomenon has not been experienced through video conferencing because only one individual can speak at a time. When you consider the impact of video lags and poor sound quality, the potentially negative consequences of online conferencing seem unavoidable. To maximize a group discussion, companies will want to return to hosted group meetings to promote creativity, innovation, and solutions.

2. Lack of Employee Interest

Working in an office builds a sense of community among employees – it creates a culture where employees are excited to participate and interact with one another. In fact, a study conducted by Comparably shows that 60 percent of women and 56 percent of men report having a close friend at work. Without this social connection, individuals’ work mentality has shifted. Spontaneous collaboration and understanding have been lost, and employees have adopted a mindset that views work simply as an avenue to a paycheck.  The lack of commitment resulting from this mindset can be detrimental to the long-term growth of a company.


In addition, an engaged workforce translates into a better customer experience and greater profitability. On the flip side, employees who are NOT engaged cost their organizations in very quantifiable ways. Studies show that disengaged employees can cost companies up to $550 billion a year. The truth is employee engagement is not a “nice to have”– it’s a serious competitive differentiator.

3. Company Development Relies on Interaction

A successful company relies on innovation – great minds coming together to identify the factors contributing to consumer interest and economic growth.

Unfortunately, as a result of the WFH model, many industries are currently experiencing hardship due to a lack of employee engagement. Rob Radar, Topside CEO, contributes this to two factors:

  • Real change happens in person!

Think Tony Robbins and Brené Brown, today’s leading influencers in the business world. They inspire change and promote personal growth. However, to do this, they encourage individuals to participate in their lives. They must get out, network, and challenge themselves. Working remotely from the comfort of one’s home ultimately inhibits one’s potential.

  • Our culture relies on people sharing the same air and space and enjoying meals together to build trust – and this is essential for teamwork.

Individually, we are all capable of great things. However, collaborative thinking is where exponential development happens. While working from home, individuals no longer have the comradery they once had in their office space – chatting with one another in the breakroom, going out for a team lunch, and other opportunities for impromptu brainstorming. For new employees coming together on a remote platform, creative collaboration is even more challenging.

Office Life Post COVID

Companies must continue to rely on effective communication to experience immense growth and remain competitive in today’s environment. To do this, in-person relationships are essential.

We can, however, anticipate some changes within the office space. For example, many companies may choose a hybrid business model whereby they allow employees to split their time between working in the office and working from home. Commercial real estate can then anticipate increased demand for low-rise suburban office space and decreased demand for urban space. In addition, tenants are expected to transition to buying their office space versus leasing it, especially in Orange County, due to the current CRE landscape. Given the success of companies’ quick pivot to adopting a WFH model, the future looks promising as they shift toward the “new normal.”

Although 2020 was a rollercoaster of a year, hope is here. Executives and employees can expect to return to a somewhat normal office existence – one where they can enjoy morning coffee with a coworker, participate in a heated discussion about market opportunities, and benefit from the social interactions so many have missed during COVID.

If you are looking for your next office space in Orange County, whether you are hoping to lease, buy, or sell and move from your current space, Topside Real Estate can help you find a solution. Contact a qualified broker today to learn more about office opportunities in the 2021 marketplace.

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