Friday, September 30, 2022

New offices for the hybrid era? Deluxe in Minneapolis among the companies on board

New offices for the hybrid era? Deluxe in Minneapolis among the companies on board

If you build a shiny new office building, will your employees show up to work in it?

Many US companies are banking on it because they believe working in person is better for collaboration and training young employees. So even though most employees are still working from home offices and dining room tables today, some companies are willing to spend big on showplace headquarters.

Businesses recognize there is a place for offices despite the fact that they plan to give workers more flexibility to work from home and might see cost savings from limiting their real estate holdings.

In a sign of how committed companies are to keeping offices, some 57% of the more than 2,300 office projects that giant architecture firm Gensler is now working on were started last year, in the middle of the pandemic. But as they’re building, companies are tweaking designs to reflect that offices may become spots that workers visit primarily to collaborate with others, instead of places where they toil all day, every day.

Jordan Goldstein, the co-firm managing principal at Gensler, said companies are placing a premium on having more meeting rooms with the technology to accommodate remote and in-person participants, as well as more flexible space for people to choose where they work within the office.

NEW DELUXE HEADQUARTERS

Deluxe, the company once known primarily for printing checks that now processes nearly $3 trillion in payments a year, invested $12.2 million during the pandemic in a new 94,000-square-foot Minneapolis headquarters that opened last fall. When they return on a more regular basis later this month, employees will be expected to be there more often than they work from home.

But the new headquarters is less than one-third the size of Deluxe’s ​​old one. The company cut its overall real estate footprint in half nationwide to better reflect its current needs with more people working remotely.

RELATED: Shoreview eyes development possibilities for 50 acres vacated by Deluxe Corp.

Deluxe CEO Barry McCarthy acknowledges that parts of each of his employee’s jobs can be done remotely, but coming together and being able to work as a team is a bigger element.

“There are very, very few jobs that are just individual contributor jobs with little or no interaction required from others,” he said.

McCarthy, like many CEOs, says he believes office work is better for training and mentoring younger employees because they can watch and interact with their coworkers better and get more immediate feedback on their work.

Mutual of Omaha plans to build a glassy new headquarters in its namesake Nebraska city that could wind up as Omaha’s tallest building.

But the insurance company says the plans for its new building reflect its commitment to flexible work. The company has 4,000 employees in the Omaha metro area but is planning a building that can only accommodate between 2,200 and 2,500 people on any given day, Mutual spokesman Jim Nolan said.

“The only way that works is by embracing remote and hybrid work,” he said.

The number of people working remotely is clearly growing because so many companies learned they could do it during the pandemic. The Society for Human Resource Management estimates the number of totally remote US workers will double to roughly 36 million people by 2025. But the CEO of that trade group, Johnny C. Taylor Jr., said that will still only account for a little over 20 % of the workforce. The other nearly 80% will work in an office at least part of the time.

Nation World News Desk
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