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Nearly Half Of Companies Expect To Downsize Their Office Spaces Post-Pandemic: Report


Roughly 44% of companies expect to downsize their office footprint after the coronavirus pandemic ends, a recent survey found. 

According to a Gensler report released Sept. 7, 39% of top-performing companies said they would plan to downsize after the pandemic. These companies are categorized by the architecture firm as those that have been deemed most innovative, most admired and the best places to work by unspecified ranking lists. 

A total of 45% of other companies in the report, which made up a quarter of the respondents overall, also said they were planning to downsize. Across all companies in the survey, 44% said they intend to shrink.

Some 44% of those unranked companies said they would keep their footprint the same while 17% of those Gensler deemed top companies said they will take up the same amount of space. 

These so-called high-performing companies are 3.5 times more likely than unranked businesses to want to expand, according to the survey. Nearly 44% said they would increase their total square footage while only 12% of unranked companies said they plan to expand. 

Gensler flags in its report that many of the companies it deems top performers had already embraced a hybrid model before the pandemic. This could indicate they previously rightsized, including reducing square footage, though Gensler said many are continuing to expand and are using the additional square footage for higher-quality space offering better experiences for staff.

In major office cities like New York, there have been companies that have both expanded and downsized their footprint since the pandemic began. While top tech companies have expanded, others have lowered their search requirements for space by up to 50%. 

This split trend was seen most recently at an office tower at 1301 Sixth Ave., where one company doubled its footprint while the other cut its total office size in half.

Gensler surveyed more than 2,000 “leaders and knowledge workers” in the U.S. across 10 industries for its study. Gensler asked all participating companies to answer whether they had been recently ranked on a most admired, most innovative and best places to work list, a spokesperson said. Those that responded that the company had been listed on all three were deemed top companies while those that responded the company had not been on any were deemed unranked. A third group of other companies that fall somewhere in the middle were not included in the report, comparing top companies with unranked companies. 

CORRECTION, SEPT. 28, 9:20 ET: This story has been updated with additional context on Gensler's methodology in this survey provided by the firm and corrected figures given that additional context.