40% of organizations will offer a blend of virtual and physical work experiences by the end of 2023, predicts Gartner. Within tech companies hiring tech talent, that figure is already at 99%, according to Tech + People Network.
“Hybrid work has changed the nature of our workplaces more than anything else since the invention of the internet,” Ryan Wong, CEO of Vancouver-based tech unicorn Visier, stated.
What then of physical downtown areas, where high-rise towers are built to hold tens of thousands of workers?
In major Canadian hubs such as Vancouver, the downtown core is the vibrant pulse of the city, especially in tech. Vancouver for example houses the broader region’s “greatest pool of educated employees and is located at the cross-section of capital flows,” according to a recent report from Avison Young.
Indeed, the coastal city boasted the highest tech-job growth in North America through 2020 and 2021, according to data released by CBRE through its “Tech-30” report.
“Vancouver had the highest high-tech job growth at 44%,” the report noted, with the city creating more than 20,000 new positions.
But how has the Pandemic-driven shift to work-from-home impacted such an active city?
The Technology Occupancy Insights report notes a pre-Pandemic “prevailing view held by larger technology tenants that locating yourself in Downtown is a vital prerequisite to becoming a corporate success.”
And while tech titans are “striking a balance between introducing working from home arrangements and maintaining their central business district office space,” small and medium-sized firms are prioritizing operating costs savings over the benefits of holding an office space, suggests AY.
Especially now that many employees have tasted working from home at least part-time—and prefer it.
“There is greater value now placed on work-life flexibility, with working from home as a desirable perk for job-seekers,” the report states.
Due to these changes, subleases among small-to-medium tech firms “drastically rose,” according to the report. Some companies are moving to more affordable suburban spaces, while others are embracing fully digital workplaces.
Either way, the overall situation has turbocharged volatility in Vancouver’s office market, EY says.
“With different-sized tenants adopting a range of strategies … Downtown Vancouver is now in a state of flux,” states the report.
With some Vancouver tech companies hiring and others still laying more staff off, this volatile state of flux may last for some time yet.
The city’s tech scene now employs 92,000, a figure which has nearly tripled since 2010.