Companies seek to return business back to normal following COVID-19

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Miami Valley companies with large offices are mapping out plans for what their businesses will be doing now that state health restrictions are over. News Center 7′s Jim Otte reports it will have a big impact on city centers, including downtown Dayton.

When COVID-19 hit more than a year ago, bit office towers emptied out, everybody went home to work and that changed the entire office dynamic.

Many people started operating remotely with Zoom calls and other online tools.

The Miami Valley’s top real estate expert David Dickerson with the Miller-Valentine Group says office environments were already starting to change before COVID-19 hit.

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“I think the days of intense, what we call, cube farms, where you have smaller areas for employees - we were already seeing that changing,” Dickerson said.

So with those changes, will the work away from large offices continue?

News Center 7′s Jim Otte talked with Carlton Jackson CEO at Dayton Realtors about it. He’s seen that trend across the country. Although he expects businesses to come back to the office to regain the kind of worker’s synergy that makes them successful.

“I wonder how long some of these groups can continue to work from home and losing that collaboration and energy that comes around when you have a group of people around a table talking about a particular idea,” Jackson said.

As companies try to figure this out, office vacancies are up, according to Jackson. Especially in downtowns and Dickerson said there’s no telling how long that may last.

“There is some concern because there is concern about losing employers and that income tax that’s very viable for communities, especially in a city like Dayton,” Dickerson said,

He expects companies will continue their commitment to the communities they’re now in and carefully bring people back to the office over the next three to six months or maybe between now and next year at this time.

In state government, 20,000 office workers who normally are in the towers that surround the statehouse will start returning to their traditional offices in July.

The transition in government offices will take more than three months and even then some employees may still spend some time at home on selected days.