As the office market continues to struggle in many places due to the fallout from the pandemic, workers in Austin don’t seem to fear the grim reaper when it comes to returning to the workplace.
Tech companies are playing a big role in leading that comeback, the Austin Business Journal reported. Based on a Kastle Systems report that 54% of Austin Metro offices were occupied — the average across 10 major US cities is 38% — he checked with some tech companies on how they’re handling the return and the role they play in the return.
Homegrown Dell, which reopened March 7 for a voluntary return, said it is emphasizing an “outcomes-based workplace model” and employees can continue to work remotely or in the office, depending on what “best fits their lifestyle”. Apple has ordered employees to return to its campuses and other offices at least once a week, starting April 11, according to a recent Bloomberg article. On May 23, it will begin to increase the requirement to three days a week: Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Amazon said its team managers would make the decisions. Amazon’s new office workers are expected to populate its domain offices in large numbers. IBM offices reopened on March 1, also on a voluntary basis, for fully vaccinated employees, but did not announce plans beyond that.
Google, which occupies much of downtown Austin’s office space and will move into a new landmark building under construction, will adopt a hybrid model in early April. Facebook parent company Meta opened its offices at 50% capacity and plans to fully reopen on March 28. The company will continue to have a flexible, hybrid approach to returning workers, including a program that allows for the extension of remote work for those who don’t. don’t feel ready to go back to the office.
Meanwhile, there has been little slowing down in the breakneck pace of new office development in the city. New downtown developments in this arena include a skyscraper by Cielo and a 58-story tower courtesy of Tishman Speyer and Ryan. Meanwhile, Meta has signed a lease for 33 floors in Austin’s tallest building downtown. Estate developments include One Uptown, which will have a 14-storey office building, and a 19-storey office tower developed by Kilroy. Amazon occupies several office buildings in the area and just leased another one late last year. Tishman Speyer has also just purchased two office buildings in the North Austin area.
[ABJ] —Cindy Widner