COVID-19 has driven people from their offices and some will never return

2022-03-24 02:53 PM Comment(s) By Cavan Kelly

The benefits are only beginning to be realised

A Forum Research poll conducted in June 2019, concluded that the average round-trip commute for a Toronto resident had risen to 84 minutes. Transit users, obviously, spent even more time getting to and from work, some 104 minutes each day. Toronto Council and the rest of the looney left jumped at the report as an opportunity to step up the war on the car and proposed ever grander mass transit schemes. Few would even consider the simpler and far more environmentally sound optionfind a way to reduce the number of commuters. Then came COVID-19. Suddenly, at least for office workers, the choice became easy, work from home or don't work at all. So they worked from home. And it was good. Relieved of the stress of commuting and granted an extra eight hours a week, employees were happier. Absenteeism rates dropped (though that may be explained by there being nothing else to do). Work still got done, so the employers were happy. Roads became less congested for those essential workers that did have to commute.  Everybody won.  And, several weeks in, the sky turned blue and stayed that way, something that hadn't been seen in the city for decades.

Around the world, CEOs of major corporations are anticipating the disposal of massive amounts of real estate and a savings of billions of dollars annually (a large percentage of which will no doubt find its way into their personal bank accounts).  Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, has already told his employees that they may work from home "forever". By November 1, insurance company, Nationwide, will give up all office space save four campuses in central Ohio; Des Moines, Iowa; Scottsdale, Arizona; and San Antonio, Texas. Employees from other locations will remain at home permanently. Food giant, Mondelez International (Kraft, Christie Brown, Dad's, Peak Frean, Cadbury and many others), has decided maybe they don't need all the office space they have around the world. Barclays and Morgan Stanley have also come to the realisation that they don't require anywhere near the amount of commercial real estate that they were previously occupying.

Three of our own clients are transitioning to make work from home a permanent thing. Each of these companies has between 5 and 15 employees, so it's not just the multinationals making the move.

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