Is the New Workweek 3 Days In, 2 Days Out?

The “What will happen after the pandemic?” question continues to be debated, but many companies seem to be focusing on a hybrid work-from-home system.

NEW YORK – Many people want to work from home even after the pandemic is over. A new survey from JLL of 2,000 employees globally found that 72% want to be able to work from home more during the workweek, up considerably from 34% before the pandemic. Most (66%) favor a hybrid model that mixes in office, home and a co-working facility.

The idea of a 3-2-2 model is gaining popularity with workers. LinkedIn’s year-end roundup of 2020 workplace trends called it one to watch in the new year. The model would allow employees to work three days in the office, two days remotely and have two days off.

While many workers don’t want to return to the office full-time, they want to return some since they miss the workplace. Slightly more than half (62%) say they don’t feel as productive at home, and 58% miss working at an office, according to a separate JLL survey. The 3-2-2 model could work for these people, allowing them to balance remote and in-office work.

“The emergence of this new framework for the workweek confirms that people don’t just want to go back to the office – for many, they need to,” writes Kenny Kane, chief operating officer at Firmspace, for Forbes.com. “And commercial real estate agents will see this reflected in their quarterly reports as soon as the pandemic turns around.”

Still, a CBRE analysis cautions that the growth in remote work could cut the overall need for office space by 15% after the pandemic ends. As workplaces consider new leases, they’re demanding more flexible space options, shared meeting spaces, better indoor air quality, connected building apps, and touchless technology, CBRE notes. Also, about 50% of the workers surveyed by JLL consider socialization spaces crucial to their experiences in the office in the future. These spaces could include coffee and tea areas, lounges, terraces that offer more connection with nature and more.

Peter Miscovich, managing director of strategy and innovation at JLL, told the Commercial Observer that some clients want to decrease their office portfolios, open up satellite spaces in the suburbs, or retool their existing spaces to fit a new hybrid workplace model.

Co-working spaces are increasingly viewed as an alluring option. The JLL survey finds that 40% of workers would like to be able to work at a co-working space in the future.

For companies, the office will remain a key role for companies as a collaboration space, Miscovich says. Only 10% of survey respondents said they would want to work from home exclusively; 74% would be willing to return to the office at least part time; 24% would be willing to return on a full-time basis.

Source: “72% of Workers Don’t Want to Return to Office Full Time, Report Finds,” Commercial Observer (March 5, 2021); “Shaping Human Experience,” JLL (Feb. 22, 2021); and “What the New 3-2-2 Work Week Will Mean for Commercial Real Estate,” Forbes.com (March 2, 2021)

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