It’s hard to bet against Jamie Dimon. He made headlines when he told his people to come back to the office or find somewhere else to work. Then came the Delta variant. I just spent the last four days at an offsite with a group of CEOs, VCs, and attorneys. Nobody is betting against Mr. Dimon, but the group wasn’t ready to mandate a “return to office or else” policy.

Work from home (WFH) has its advantages. The runaway leader is not having to commute. The consensus revolved around a continued hybrid environment. Most of the CEOs see the ability to maintain their workflow but growth is more challenging. Senior workers seem better able to maintain productivity; they usually have better WFH environments and have more established career paths. Less seasoned employees are more task oriented and seem to need mentorship from in-person contact. The loss of camaraderie, spontaneous meetings, and company culture are the obvious casualties of WFH.

In the offices we’ve designed since vaccines became available, the number of private offices, open meeting areas, and conference rooms have increased while bench seating has all but disappeared. Working in the office 2-4 days a week does decrease a company’s footprint; however, it’s not by nearly as much as you would think. In round numbers, operating on a 50% occupancy level only decreases square footage needs by 20%.

We are social creatures. While Mr. Dimon may be right about coming back to the office, I think the motivation will come more from human nature and the need to out-work the competition than a mandate.

Eric and Roger are the co-founders of Cornerstone Real Estate Group, which provides a full range of services to their clients across New Jersey – including space planning, lease review, and construction management.