The changing landscape of the office


The future demand for traditional office space continues to evolve after the landscape changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That change has been positive for many office workers who prefer to work remotely – or a hybrid of remote and in-office. Employees who have proven they are productive working remotely are asking their employers to continue to allow them to work remotely or blend remote work with in-office work.

Even though working from home sounds appealing, it does pose challenges. In-home offices tend to lack basic equipment and supplies found in a traditional office, including heavy-duty printers for larger projects, high speed copiers, conference rooms, and opportunities to socialize face-to-face and build relationships.

Home workspaces can be an issue too, especially in a real estate market such as San Diego where living spaces tend to be smaller. At Murfey Company, we have noticed that a number of our residents are interested in renting larger apartment units to accommodate at-home office/workspace.

While it is too soon to say that remote is here to stay, the trend is forcing companies to rethink how to adapt to the demand.

One work-around in large cities is the development of satellite offices. These offices provide the tech and space needed for employees to get work done efficiently. Other trends are flex space and coworking space, both of which offer shorter leasing terms options.

Some companies who want to entice workers to return to the office are recreating their office environment. One example is a construction engineering firm in Chicago which enhanced its downtown office space with a full bar and a rooftop patio to encourage socializing. Employees also are allowed to bring their dogs to work.

In keeping with these trends, Murfey Company is expanding our office to allow for more collaboration and amenity space, including an employee lounge. We’re also aiming to mirror the tranquility of a home office by building more private offices for our employees. By allowing our team flexibility in their schedules, hybrid work environment options, and enhanced amenities in the office, we hope to meet the evolving demands of the job market, while promoting a creative and productive atmosphere focused on work-life balance.

The idea of live-work-play communities, traditionally called mixed-use developments, are on the rise. Murfey Company specializes in creating these unique and thriving mixed-use communities where residents can live, work and play all within the same neighborhood. And our projects offer excellent examples of creating exciting mixed use urban infill environments.

Because these communities promote the idea that people can go to their jobs, live nearby in affordable homes and access public spaces and recreational activities, companies located in these live-work-play communities are positioned to persuade employees to join their team.

What does the future look like?

It might be a while before anyone has a solid idea of what to expect in the long run. Commercial leases generally are 5 to 7 years, so it’s not clear what will happen to the leasable space when those leases expire.

But industry experts do predict that updated buildings with more amenities will be more attractive to companies interested in leasing space than older buildings with outdated space, poor ventilation systems and a lack of amenities.

Murfey Company, a leader in commercial and residential construction, is a trusted partner in developing projects throughout Southern California. For more information, visit