No 'Room' for Corporate Culture
There has been a trend in Corporate America that is understandable in one sense, and somewhat troubling in another - the reduction of corporate real estate footprints. Nearly every major company is looking to reduce costs right now - it's just the name of the game, reduce costs to boost profits - it's not rocket science. As a result, companies are reducing both the number of real estate leases that they hold, and shrinking the size of their current leases (6 floors go to 4; 4 floors go to 2, etc.). Fair enough. I guess that's just called 'enterprise cost reduction'.
But on the other hand, companies are wondering why it's so tough to create a little thing called 'culture' these days - that glue that builds loyalty - the things that make people think twice about taking that other job for a 10% raise. So what's the connection here? As companies reduce their corporate real estate footprints, they are moving to more open-space communal offices where people "hotel", nobody has designated offices, and you feel exactly what the term "hotel" represents - transient. Employees are nothing more than nomadic dwellers who search daily for a decent workstation where they can take calls without disturbing others, have access to confidential files, and feel like they actually 'belong' to something.
It has gotten to the point of "why bother coming in anymore? - I don't see anyone I know. Nobody knows who I am. Nobody cares if I'm even here. It's far more convenient to work from home." That's the troubling part - nobody feels like they belong anymore - it's far easier to leave something when there is no sense of belonging - office culture was one of the lasting strings that kept that sense of belonging alive. It's leaving corporate America along with the small semblance of loyalty that still existed with a Millennial generation that everybody believes to be so fickle anyways.
I'm not in charge of a P&L and therefore I can't tell you how significant the savings are that are derived from reducing a company's corporate real estate footprint...but what I can tell you is that it's not a dollar-for-dollar savings. There is an offset to those savings - a loss of culture and belonging. At some point, you have to wonder if you're shaving fat or just cutting into muscle.
...And WeWork is laughing all the way to the bank.