The concept of office space has its origins in Ancient Rome, and the modern office has been an important staple of business for over 100 years. Pre-COVID-19, only 8 percent of Americans worked remotely on a full-time basis. By May 2020, up to 70 percent of employees were working from home. Now that it is considered safe to return to the office, many companies are trying to determine if it’s worth the investment.
In the world of tech, some companies are choosing to forgo a physical office in an effort to reduce costs, but most major tech companies are choosing to retain their office spaces, and for good reason. They can benefit from having office space in many ways, including team building, increased security, and supporting your local community.
Benefit: Encourages Team and Culture Building
One of the main advantages of working in the office is that it helps improve team building as well as team culture. The majority of employees also want to be at the office at some point during the workweek, so it’s important to offer them the option of in-person and remote work. In fact, nearly 60 percent of employees desire to work in a hybrid manner (both at home and in the office) while nearly 10 percent would like to work in the office full time.
Many top companies are switching to a hybrid model to encourage collaboration, including Capital One. Richard Fairbank, CEO, shares, “We are excited to welcome associates back to the workplace where teams can collaborate, engage, and socialize in ways that we have missed over the last 16 months. Personally, I am excited to move into the hybrid work model.”
Benefits: Increases Security and Privacy
It can also be beneficial for tech companies to have a physical office space in order to improve their security and safety measures, especially as many of them are managing private data. While working remotely certainly has its benefits, security risks can arise.
When working from a personal laptop or on a home Wi-Fi connection, data is not as well-protected. Privacy can also be hard to find at home or in public workspaces, which creates a security risk that confidential work conversations might be overheard. Within a physical office, data is protected by firewall and security protocols. An office can also offer plenty of options for private meetings and phone calls, decreasing the chance of being overheard.
Benefit: Supports Your Local Community
The use of physical office space can also help benefit the local community. For example, Amazon’s $2.5 billion investment in their HQ2 in Northern Virginia is resulting in 25,000 jobs in the area, as well as thousands of indirect jobs. Being a part of a community can also help businesses make connections with nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and environmental groups.
Although remote work will likely continue to be an element of workforce plans, physical office space will also play an important role for tech companies. Sid Banerjee, Chief XM Strategy Officer of Qualtrics, explains, “There is value in culture, there is value in continuity, in being part of a team that you want to be part of long-term, and I think that comes from being in a physical office or being in an office that you can go to from time to time.”
If you’re looking to expand or relocate your business to an area with a vast selection of commercial real estate, the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority is here to help. Fairfax County has over 119 million square feet of space, making it the second-largest suburban office market in the U.S. and the largest in the metro D.C. area. To learn more about doing business in Northern Virginia, visit our website.
Editor’s Note: Qualtrics CEO quote was previously provided for the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority Commission, December 13, 2021.