A new survey shows that 75% of companies plan to reduce their office space next year, up from 46% in 2022. Getty Images

Return-to-office mandates are becoming more common, but companies are rapidly downsizing their offices and worrying about whether they will be able to keep the ones they currently occupy.

That’s the seemingly paradoxical result of a new survey conducted by Robin, a Boston-based workplace strategy firm, which surveyed more than 500 business owners and facility managers about their workspace plans. office space and their remote work and return to office policies.

The results show that 88% of companies now require employees to work a certain number of days in the office, compared to 69% a year ago. However, 75% plan to reduce office space next year, compared to 46% in 2022.

“It seems like an opposing trend, but it’s really not,” said Robin CEO Micah Remley. Boston Globe. “Over the past year, we’ve finally seen companies have a vision of what they want to accomplish in their offices, and they’re putting those plans into practice. »

What they want, he said, is “a flexible office space with a deep focus on collaboration.”

Lenny Beaudoin, executive managing director of real estate company CBRE, added:

“In the past, organizations had more space for contingencies, and what they realize is that through hybrid working and how their employees actually use space, they can actually reduce some of the space they had not used in the past. because they no longer need it in an emergency like it used to be the case when everyone came to the office every days.

The survey also reveals that 80% of companies have downsized their offices since the pandemic, and 82% are concerned about being able to maintain their current office, whether due to a recession or underutilization of office space. space.

The results showed that more businesses are making greater use of their existing offices, with 56% of respondents saying the majority of their employees work in the office full-time, an increase of 19% on last year. And 40% said the majority of their teams are working hybridly, a 21% decline from 2022. Only 4% said their company is fully remote.

Among those surveyed requiring part-time in the office, the breakdown was 52% requiring four days, 26% three days, 16% two days and 3% one day.

Among those who reject hybrid altogether, the reasons vary: 42% say they have already invested in a new office space, 30% say they are not willing to compromise their office culture, and 27% say their employees do not cannot work outside. from the office.

For remote workers who oppose return-to-office mandates, the investigation is more bad news. In a viral TikTok video, a Gen Zer expressed their horror at the 10-hour day it took to get to the office for their first job. In Australia, an Indian investor recently told remote workers that their jobs were ready to be outsourced. And ChatGPT maker OpenAI, whose CEO Sam Altman called the remote work “experiment” one of the tech industry’s worst mistakes, recently closed a deal for 486,600 square feet of new office space in San Francisco.

But like the Wall Street Journal According to a recent report, office attendance in major cities is still only about half the level observed in 2019. This is despite a slight increase and tough talk from high-level CEOs on the implementation of policies of back to the office.

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