Return to the Office

Return to the Office

You may be waiting at the door to greet your employees, but it's looking like they're not coming back anytime soon.

For managers, “waiting longer for the whole office to return” means resentment may be settling in.

The New York Times reported last week that managers and high-performance employees had been back to the office for months, but less-trained employees remain slow to return, making for friction. Some managers report that much of the work that others used to do is falling on them because subordinates work safely at home.

One client recently pondered out loud to me that she feels one day a week back seems reasonable, but when will three days a week be accepted as safe?

Some local employers are bringing employees back:

  • Wells Fargo sent out a memo stating that it is targeting Labor Day for workers to return.
  • Microsoft is allowing workers back into the office, and part-time remote is the new standard, according to Morning Brew.
  • BofA offices to start filling in September – Bank of America plans to start returning to offices in earnest after Labor Day, CEO Brian Moynihan said. (Bloomberg)
  • Your friends at Cardinal Partners are back and fully vaccinated. 😉


I have been asking my clients about the effects of Zoom on their workforce. I hear from them that they see burnout because of not being pulled into meetings, learning from seeing how others work, and engaging in casual interactions.

While our clients are quick to say that there’s a lack of innovation and creativity due to diminished collaboration, they have also been amazed at productivity.

PWC’s recent workplace study found that employers have reported only a 20% reduction in office productivity due to the pandemic. A surprising tidbit is that employers reported that they anticipated taking 20% more office space than what they predicted before the pandemic to allow for social distancing.

PWC said that most employees want to return to the office at slower rates than their employer’s request.

CBRE reported that rent collection in the office markets nationwide is down only 15% and overall occupancy in the office markets in the Southeast is 28%. This data is surprising because the conventional wisdom was that we might see office landlords needing bailouts because of the shift to WFH.

Walk through bustling uptown Charlotte and ask yourself if truly one in four have returned.
Recently, I wrapped up an HQ office relocation with Ruth Cline at Little Associates. She has been studying the future of work.

This is what I learned from Ruth and her team...

  • Meeting rooms on steroids
  • Zoom Rooms with large monitors and many cameras are a thing
  • SMART boards are back! (I love those things)
    “Hot Desks” are out – “hoteling” is in
  • Wheels on everything

I’m ready – all this working from home is not healthy. People need to be physically close to others. Without the social interaction that we get at work, we will turn into a nation of sad clowns.

I love real estate because I love to collaborate on projects. At Cardinal, we can help you get your workforce back to feeling excited about the new office and feeling safe. Give me a call, and let’s discuss the vision for your future workplace.

Here’s my cell – 704-501-7273.

Real estate transactions can be fraught with frustration and pitfalls.

Sometimes the hardest part turns out to be working with your broker, the person who is supposed to help you through the complexities. Veteran commercial real estate broker and client advisor John Culbertson discovered that brokers’ interests aren’t always aligned with those of their clients. He realized there was a better way to advocate for clients and get the deal done.


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