The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are continuing into 2022 and may affect the future of work – permanently. The paradigm shift of worker preferences for quality of life, work, play, and how they balance these aspects together continues, as well. As a result, the redevelopment and growth within the suburban office market is exploding worldwide to meet the new demands of the workforce.

Below we look at why hybrid work is not just a trend, it’s a new normal; and how suburban office planning is evolving to meet changing workforce needs, and the tech-forward solutions tying everything together.

Hybrid work is not a trend

In the US, 52% of workers would prefer a mix of working from home and the office and 72% of leaders plan to offer hybrid work arrangements. New research shows that remote work isn’t just a “nice to have,” but a condition of employment, with 40% of Americans surveyed who were working at home saying that they would look for another job if their employer forced them to return to the office full time. 

While some workers are returning to the office, it’s not a typical Monday through Friday schedule. According to Kastle Systems, a security company that tracks access-card swipes, an average of 31% of the workforce was back in the 10 major cities; the average hit 35% during the week that ended October 1, 2021, and 36% during the week that ended October 8, 2021. For organizations, this demonstrates the need for an effective hybrid office set-up to meet worker expectations on your business.

Workers are migrating away from big cities

The preference for lower costs and more space during the height of COVID-19 pandemic resulted in workers fleeing larger cities. According to data from the Wall Street Journal, the number of net new households that moved to the suburbs in the US grew by 43% last year compared to 2019.

This migration to suburban areas, coupled with fears of crowded, indoor spaces virtually crashed most major public transportation systems. The London Underground which normally transports four million daily journeys is down 80%, the Paris Metro is operating at just half its normal capacity, and the New York MTA reported in early October that its subway system remains at 50% below pre-pandemic levels.

Millennials as the muse for the modern office parks  

Millennials, those aged 25-40, are the most in-demand for companies who need technologically sophisticated employees. Millennials currently represent 50% of the workforce and will hit 75% by 2025. These are the workers who expect work flexibility, open spaces, access to nightlife, quaint downtown areas with a great shopping experience, and mid-day workouts. With this vision in mind, millennials are the muse for the modern development of suburban office parks.

“The master plan is to build a place that’s a neighborhood, where you can get to everything within 15 minutes by bike or car on our campus, and then support that with really great amenities, technology, programming, design, culinary, and wellness,” explains Shane Connell, the fourth-generation head of the Connell Company and developer of the original office park.

Suburban office parks are being developed to have more dynamic uses, shifting away from the office-only model. This includes residential, retail, and other kinds of services and public spaces that can appeal to workers, someone stopping to grab lunch, or for a dinner date. Despite the pandemic’s transformation of workspaces, these redevelopment projects are revolutionizing the corporate parks and office complexes.

Parcel lockers are the essential amenity for the modern hybrid workplace

Parallel to these new hybrid work trends is the need for smart parcel lockers for employee use. Parcel lockers serve as efficient distribution hubs to exchange items between colleagues and interoffice mail, as well as outside mail and packages for a workforce that is no longer in the office full-time. With package delivery at the office on the rise, parcel lockers enable easy and safe package pick-up, with zero face-to-face interaction. Parcel lockers can be made available 24/7, and feature contact-free pick-up, allowing employees to quickly retrieve deliveries or other goods at their convenience. In fact, it typically takes less than 10 seconds to retrieve a parcel with no signature required.

Quadient and you

To meet the modern workforce’s expectations and needs, suburban office park developers need to serve up environments with the right amenities, including smart lockers.

Contact us today to learn how smart lockers will provide a premium office experience for your tenants and employees.

Alexandrea Purvis

Alexandrea Purvis

Content Marketing Specialist- Parcel Locker Solutions

Alexandrea Purvis is the Content Marketing Specialist for Parcel Locker Solutions at Quadient, responsible for the development and execution of Quadient's global content strategy for Parcel Locker Solutions. Alexandrea has more than 5 years of experience in the technology industry and has created and implemented key marketing strategies that are engaging and increase brand awareness around parcel lockers. Alexandrea holds a B.A. from the University of Central Florida and an M.A. from Lille 1 University of Science and Technology. 

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