office space toronto

Toronto is drastically cutting office space as remote work could become permanent

Whether you love it or hate, COVID-19 has brought on a new reality for many people. This includes working from home and effectively reducing office space.

Last week, the City of Toronto released an update to their ModernTO plan which includes an intiative called the Workplace Modernization Program, focused on the City's office portfolio. According to the City, ModernTO is supposed optimize their real estate assets while modernizing office space and saving money. 

However, as the pandemic significantly impacts the way everyone works, the City was forced to update the program to fit the requirements of a post-COVID-19 workplace. 

To do this, the City surveyed staff, and found that 95 per cent of those involved in the survey  would like to continue working from home for at least part of the week after the pandemic. Only five per cent said that they would anticipate coming in to the office five days per week.

As a result, the City said that they will be reducing the amount of desks in their future office plans. 

"The Workplace Modernization Plan increased the average mobility ratio from a 1.3 staff per workstation to a 1.7 staff per workstation mobility ratio, meaning there will be 10 desks for every 17 employees, on average," the plan states. 

"This change was based on evidence of successful remote working during the pandemic, which resulted in increased leadership support and strengthened willingness to consider remote working as an ongoing option post-pandemic combined with in-office work."

ModernTO and the Workplace Modernization Program also includes a Master Office Accomodation plan which will consolidate 14,900 office employees in 15 locations, down from the current 55 City-owned or leased locations. 

"This consolidation will result in a reduction of the City office floor area by 1 million square feet, or 33 percent. The City's new office workplace standard will allocate 140 square feet per workstation and provide 10 desks for every 17 employees on average," the report reads.

A Remote Work Program will also be implemented that supports the culture change of working from home including flexible hours, supervision of remote work, and performance management. 

"The pandemic accelerated the City's approach to and readiness for City-wide remote working, while also presenting an opportunity to rethink the future of its workplace."

According to the report, the implementation plan for all of this will span five years. 

City Council adopted ModernTO in October 2019.

It's safe to say that COVID-19 has certainly changed everything.

Lead photo by

City of Toronto


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