We heard you! Responses from our recent article suggest Productivity is KING. But, like any royal family – there may be more than meets the eye.


An overwhelming response from our last article, indicated productivity is a key driver for many of you – especially in context of the work-from-home versus back-to-work debate. Yet, when we take a closer look at productivity, many complexities appear.

The solution is not as black and white as choosing the best location to optimize productivity. This oversimplifies challenges to keep teams thriving amidst recent circumstances. It’s more complex than setting up your laptop at the kitchen counter or office cube. There are nuances to consider, particularly in making real estate choices.

So, let’s start at the beginning.

How does location influence productivity?

Remember what workdays looked like 12 months ago, just one week into the pandemic?

We may have had a dedicated office space or perhaps shared our desk at the kitchen table with a partner, kids, or flat mates. For some, Wi-Fi lagged amidst simultaneous Zooms and that kitchen table also started to host an onslaught of meals! On the other hand, we could wear joggers and weren’t bombarded with last minute requests after a meeting.

In either case, when we ask a group of friends where they want to work, productivity is a clear determinant. “I am more productive here or there.” Naturally, that will be the place they want to work. It makes sense.

What else is at play?

Here, we fielded twice as many calls personally and professionally. Our cell phones became our work lines. Were we getting a lot done? Yes! Were we working a LOT? You bet! Was it because we were working from home? Not really.

In our case, the boost in productivity was primarily to keep our clients happy and service a number of unexpected challenges and questions. As you can imagine, commercial real estate changed tremendously with the lockdown and we worked more hours than ever before. The number of hours worked wasn’t a function of location, but rather a shift in the business demands. This also seems to be true for many out there.

Location influences productivity significantly,
but it is not the only authority.

Regardless of location, the circumstances of world events impacted all businesses. Some industries like commercial real estate, saw a major contraction and required more time to move the needle. Other companies, like digital communications, grocers, online retailers, medical suppliers and pharmaceuticals, saw unprecedented demand which required more of their employees as well. In these cases, productivity soared because of industry drivers and cultural circumstances.

Engage for optimal performance

Turning up the heat may increase productivity momentarily, but it’s not a lasting indicator. As Gallup teaches us true productivity is a by-product of how well a company engages its employees – a task that has become increasingly hard to do as the workforce went remote in the past year.

Ensuring staff have clear expectations and the equipment to do their jobs exceptionally from any physical location, is a good start (Gallup.com). Facilitating social activities, professional growth and offering praise are equally important (Gallup.com) and, with a little creativity, can be offered independent of where people are working.

Consider a hybrid

So here is our challenge: don’t think of back-to-work as binary. Stop asking if it’s time to go back to the office and instead ask yourself how you’re going to support your employees wherever they are located.

The time has come to adapt +
consider how we can maximize circumstances now.

Just as major retailers developed an online presence twenty years ago to stay relevant amidst changing trends, the time has come to consider what a lasting remote option looks like for companies as well.

We want to hear from you. Tell us, how is your company or competitor handling the remote work trend? Please share in the comments below or shoot us an email!

Until next time,

Brian + Ben
Monarch CRE