MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — Who’s working and where, what’s happening, and when? These are all questions many companies are grappling with due to COVID-19.
On Wednesday, News 2 learned more than a thousand Murfreesboro employees won’t have a choice. An estimated 1,200 employees will no longer physically report to State Farm’s operation center in Murfreesboro.
It comes as State Farm operations centers located across the country shut their doors for good.
“As a company, maintaining flexibility in how and where we work is just one of the many ways we can better serve customers,” said company spokeswoman Gina Morss-Fischer, “Most employees have been working from home since March and will continue to do so.”
Morss-Fischer says timelines for withdrawal from the facilities are being finalized and will vary by location.
“Our operation centers have various lease terms, and we don’t intend to renew those leases. We will continue to sublease space if possible,” she added.
Ben Rooke, Regional Vice President at Brasfield & Gorrie says there’s been a lot of discussions lately on what office space and the workforce look like moving forward.
“A lot of the architects, a lot of the developers we’re working with right now are really wrestling with this office space, which was getting smaller is now getting larger, as far as more space per person, but then they’re finding some people can work from home in some jobs so there’s a lot of this push-pull,” said Rooke.
As some businesses downsize and move to hybrid models, others like Rooke mentioned are upsizing in an effort to socially distance.
“Smaller office, bigger office, will it end somewhere in the middle? I don’t know if it’s been decided yet,” said Rooke.
Ryan Turbeville, the director of commercial real estate with The Ashton Real Estate Group of Re/Max Advantage says a lot of retailers have leases that they’re no longer renewing, just like State Farm.
“They’re choosing to go to a more month-to-month concept when their lease runs out because of all of the uncertainty out there, nobody wants to tie themselves to a long term lease right now,” said Turbeville, who added working from home is going to create more competition in the workplace.
“I think one thing people need to consider is that while work from home sounds good, in concept, if you’re able to be totally mobile that also means your employer can hire from anywhere,” said Turbeville, “You’re no longer competing against employees just in your region or even your country but maybe overseas, so work from home may have some consequences people aren’t even considering.”
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