New Survey: Boston Area Professionals Have Very Specific Asks As They Continue to Head Back to the Office


Outdoor Spaces, On-Site Parking Top Employee Requests 

Boston area professionals are seeking unique changes to their workplace as they head back to the office, according to the latest poll conducted by Seven Letter, a bipartisan, full-service strategic communications firm, in partnership with the Boston Business Journal. The survey of just over 200 respondents from within the Boston professional community is the third in a series of polls examining shifting views on how and where people work as the country continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This challenged Boston area professionals to think more deeply about their physical workspaces as they head back to an in-person office setting. On-site parking and access to outdoor spaces are the most sought-after building amenities, suggesting that more and more workers intend to shift away from mass transit and remain concerned about viral transmission in indoor settings.

When asked for features or amenities they would like to see if their company were seeking a new office space lease, 90% of respondents ranked access to outdoor spaces as either very or somewhat important. Similarly, 89% of respondents ranked on-site parking as very or somewhat important. 

Notably, environmental concerns are important to Boston area professionals. 77% say that it is important that their company’s office building is sustainably built, green-certified and energy efficient.

Respondents also were very clear on what they do not want. Only 16% of Boston area professionals want an open office plan. Most want a partitioned office structure with cubicles or workstations, again a likely paradigm shift resulting from pandemic concerns.   

Many Boston area professionals perceive that their office spaces will shrink despite the overall growth of their companies. 45% believe that their company has grown in size over the past two years. But 43% also believe that when their company’s current office lease is up for renewal, their company will likely decrease the size of their office space.

“The results of this poll demonstrate that company leaders should put serious thought into how their offices look and function,” said Seven Letter Partner and Head of Research Matt George. “Between a desire for outdoor spaces, on-site parking and partitioned indoor spaces, COVID-19 clearly remains on the minds of the professional community.”

“The results of this poll have significant implications for the commercial real estate market,” said Doug Banks, Executive Editor of the Boston Business Journal. “Should businesses pursue smaller office spaces as their current leases expire, we could see a softening of real estate costs.”