The future of work – What does a post-pandemic office look like?

The future of work - What does a post-pandemic office look like?

By Danielle Singer, Vice President, Leasing & Hospitality 

As companies look ahead to life after the pandemic, one of the biggest questions being asked is, what will the future of work look like? The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated restrictions have been far-reaching, and nowhere is this more apparent than by the dramatic increase in employees working remotely and in particular, the rise of the work-from-home (WFH) phenomenon. The last two years have shown us that remote work is possible without a loss of productivity and coupled with the increased flexibility that it offers, is one of the main reasons why companies are rethinking the traditional office model.

A new era of work – Embracing more flexible and hybrid work environments

In a recent survey, 43% of Canadian CEOs revealed that they expect to have most employees working remotely at least two days per week. 61% of Canadians shared that they preferred a hybrid or remote working arrangement and 56% of companies stated that they had already implemented hybrid work models, since July 2021. The successful transition to remote and hybrid working models during the pandemic lockdown has forced businesses to reevaluate the “traditional” office set-up that is contingent on a central physical space and many other fixed expenses, associated with long-term office rentals. It is no surprise then, that many employers are now deciding whether to stay in their current office space, downsize, or become a 100% remote company. With companies like Facebook already offering employees the option to request permanent, full-time remote work and not be required to come into the office, it’s safe to say that we will see a lot more companies formally adopting the hybrid model. Flexible work environments are all set to be the norm, rather than the exception.

COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation and online connectivity across all industries 

The way we do business has changed forever, and so have the needs of our customers. As Vice President, Leasing & Hospitality at Madison Group, a real estate company that has been developing, building and managing commercial and residential properties for almost 55 years, I can attest to the fact that digital transformation and integration were something the commercial real estate industry was only starting to become acquainted with, in 2020. So much of our business relies on building relationships, but with the pandemic, the way we do business changed forever. So many digital tools and on-line processes that didn’t exist pre-pandemic have been developed and launched. Take, for example, our Concierge Plus App to assist tenants with requests, which was not even a consideration before the pandemic. And this trend can be seen as the future of most industries – aided by the fact that many companies are looking to technology and digital integration as a way to strategically differentiate themselves from competitors. 

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Company culture, employee health and overall wellbeing will remain key considerations for employers

The Human Experience Report revealed that a majority of workers feel the pandemic has been the most stressful time in their careers. As people return to “business as usual,” companies will need to be cognizant of how they re-imagine physical workspaces, while rebuilding their company culture, sense of community and best practices to safeguard employee health and wellbeing. Culture is often termed as the “glue” that holds a company together and can be summarized as developing “an attitude of care”. For companies to attract and retain top talent, it will be important to develop a culture that recognizes and understands how returning to work and a new hybrid working environment can affect employees. The future of any business starts with its employees and by working towards creating a conducive work environment that acknowledges the stress and associated tolls of living through a global pandemic, employers will be able to reflect on the reality of living with “the new normal” and ensure the happiness of their employees.

Danielle Singer, Vice President, Leasing & Hospitality at Madison Group of Companies

Danielle Singer brings exceptional knowledge and experience to her role as VP of Leasing & Hospitality at Madison Group of Companies, where she oversees all aspects of the commercial division including the management of leasing activities for commercial, retail and hospitality portfolios, as well as pre-leasing sales and marketing strategies. 

Her interest in real estate sparked while completing a fellowship with the Israeli Ministry of Justice, with a focus on land rights. This was further cultivated during law school, where she studied real estate law and went on to work for a leading real estate firm in New York. Upon moving back to Toronto in 2018, Danielle continued her real estate career at the boutique commercial real estate law firm of Delzotto Zorzi, where she gained valuable insight into condominium laws and real estate transactions. 

Joining Madison Group of Companies in 2019, Danielle has been instrumental in ensuring oversight and management of Madison Group of Companies’ operations of over 20 commercial properties, which represent +1 million sq. ft of rentable office space across all industries including retail, office and mixed-usage facilities. 

Danielle is an honors graduate from Dalhousie with a double major in International Development and History. She also holds a Masters in Comparative Politics and Human Rights for London School of Economics and a Juris Doctor degree from Cordozo School of Law. Danielle is also a board member of CRE8 – Women In Commercial Real Estate. 

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