the case against working from home

Work-from-home might be the new normal until further notice, but according to a report by real estate investment management firm Black Creek Group, office spaces are not going anywhere. Workers are itching to return to their physical headquarters, and while the future of office real estate will look a little different, investors should consider looking into less-concentrated office buildings. For many, teleworking has been a nice opportunity to cut back on commute time and expenses and connect further with family. But those who are leading the charge against a fully remote workforce have the following grievances:

Decreased Collaboration

As an insurance professional, you know that face-to-face interaction is a necessary stepping stone to locking in that potential deal. For those who work in creative spaces and experienced a meeting-packed schedule pre-COVID, video conferences simply might not cut it. According to a national survey from Chubb which outlines how American workers are responding to work-from-home, a whopping 83% of survey takers are working the same if not more hours remotely. However, this finding is not a true testament to productivity levels. For employees who regularly sparked their creativity via in-person collaboration, the technological shift can create a need to work harder, not smarter.

Hindered Work-Life Balance

Virtual office happy hours are certainly a clever innovation brought on by the pandemic, but Chubb research has also shown that distractions while working from home are difficult to avoid. Only 43% of survey takers reported their ability to clearly separate work and home activities, with the findings noting that remote distractions (family, pets, social media, etc.) are a cause for defocusing. In fact, a report from a leading on-demand healthcare platform called Ginger found that 70% of U.S. workers deemed COVID-19 as the most stressful period of their career. This can be attributed to an inability to fully “log off” at the end of each workday — since employees no longer physically leave the office, the pressure to be available online 24/7 is truly overwhelming.

Higher Risk of Cyberattacks

As many companies were forced to switch to remote work in a bit of a panic when the pandemic began, it’s not unusual that employees are working from unsecured networks at home. For businesses that carry out day-to-day activities from office-based desktops, issuing hundreds of company laptops is no easy task. It only requires a quick Google search to explore the multitude of cybersecurity risks presented by work-from-home protocols but reduced access to company IT security departments have been a defining factor. Unfortunately, many workers are not aware of the dangers staged when conducting business off of a personal computer rather than a company’s virtual private network (VPN). 

It is hard to predict an exact future date when offices will become “normal” again. But Black Creek Group’s case for the evolution of office real estate in combination with the pain points felt by Americans who are working remotely highlights many businesses’ need for a home base. To learn more about covering existing or potential office space, check out the advantages included Distinguished Program’s Real Estate Umbrella insurance.