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New norm is smaller offices? New norm is flexibility, not about smaller offices.

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Are you working from home? I bet you have to because it’s either work from home (for those who could do it) or no work to do (many do not get their monthly salary). With so many people working from home, some say that in the near future office space will be in trouble. The new norm is to work from home, right? So, everyone will now use their home as their office, right? Their bosses will now have meetings with them via zoom, right? They will call their customers and pitch deals via zoom, right?

If you ask me, my answer is NOPE. New norm that everyone is talking about is about how to get back to normal and yet be flexible enough for any sudden changes when it is necessary. There will be lots of demand for office space still and with ever growing companies, the office space will continue to be needed yeah. Now if the question is whether there are indeed more office space supply than demand, then maybe it’s true. At least for now anyway. 2020 may not be a year when everyone is thinking of expanding. Does not mean 2021 is the same yeah.

Article in themalaysianreserve.com Asiacap Valuer & Property Consultants Sdn Bhd property valuer Kit Au Yong said businesses may look into flexible working space or working with co-working space operators after the pandemic. He said, “Rental rates will certainly face downward pressure with decreased demand. Companies might take drastic measures in reducing headcount or delay their expansion plans.”

CCO & Associates (KL) Sdn Bhd ED Chan Wai Seen said working from home could be a new norm post-Movement Control Order (MCO). Chan said, “(Working from home) could be an avenue for companies to reduce their operational costs with less office space and the trend may increase the vacant office areas. The Covid-19 pandemic will impose further downward pressure on the rental. The rates may go lower if the economy does not recover soon.” The article is a long and comprehensive one, do refer: Article in themalaysianreserve.com

When the company remains a small entity, it is best not to rent a big office space. However, as soon as that company starts to see some good growth, the synergy will come from working as a team and NOT by having all the 24 staffs in 24 different places and using zoom for meetings. Sorry yeah. That short discussion where some important matters needed to be agreed upon really does not work that well in zoom.

Or when you just need to confirm a couple of things within a few minutes and you call / zoom and the person just was not around…. Or someone tells you that they were working very hard and you believe them but you could not personally help and guide them closely….? Or when you need to hire someone and you zoom interview the person instead of having the person come over and actually meet everyone in person and build that camaraderie spirit…?

I have not even started to talk about 2 different companies bidding for the same important project. One company presented via zoom… Sharing the screen… The other just bought a plane ticket, flew over, shake the hand of the potential customer, have a friendly discussion and right after because it was already 4pm, go for a cup of coffee at the cafe downstairs? Business relationship needs to be built FIRST before technology steps in and continues it under Business As Usual. It cannot start with technology…

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Next suggested article: Embracing technology will make RENs better.

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