Remote work is making people less productive than before, according to a recent survey of business leaders.
The survey, published last week by architect and design firm Vocon, found that almost 40% of business leaders nationwide said they’ve seen a decrease in productivity from their remote workforces. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 56% of employers rated their remote workers’ productivity as “excellent” in an earlier Vocon survey.
Some reasons for the lowered productivity could be that workers are starting to feel as if they’re missing out by not being able to connect with their colleagues face to face. They’re also find it difficult to set boundaries at home with work. Employees who lack a home office space within their abode generally find remote work to be more challenging, the survey found.
Vocon’s survey came as a second study by research firm Engagious found that 53% of consumers “very much want to return” to the office. In that study, 40% of workers said they’d look for another job should their employer decide to go entirely virtual.
“Companies were having a really hard time keeping their culture together and a really, really difficult time onboarding employees,” Megan Spinos, director of strategy for Vocon, told the Commercial Observer. “The workplace was really a critical place for them.”
A majority of the business leaders surveyed by Vocon said they still intend for their employees to return to the office, with most aiming for that to happen in the first quarter of next year. Vocon’s survey reflects the heads of firms that oversee 443,895 workers nationwide in industries such as real estate, technology, advertising, finance, and more.
The news is positive for the commercial real estate sector, of course. And the industry has benefited from other firms that are looking to expand their physical office footprint. The most conspicuous of these is Amazon.com, which recently purchased a 630,000 square foot building in Manhattan and leased two million square feet in two developments in Bellevue, Washington.
“Tech companies still believe in physical spaces,” Tom Vecchione, a principal at Vocon, told the Commercial Observer. “There’s a new awareness about wanting to be in a building working together.”
Surprisingly, it’s the younger workforce that seems most eager to return to the office. A recent analysis by Cushman & Wakefield found that around 70% of Generation Z and 69% of Millennials faced challenges in working from home. Some of the reported problems include struggling to find a space to do their work, and missing out on advancement opportunities due to a lack of face to face contact.