Officials in GSA’s Public Building Service expect federal agencies to reduce their office space by 20% and 50% as the federal workforce becomes more flexible and remote work more ingrained.  Many contractors, too, are planning to reduce their office footprints.  These changes, though, will impact how companies work with agencies.  Here are three things contractors need to consider to ensure that the rush toward decentralization doesn’t cause a hit to the bottom line:

1.  There’s Still a Benefit To Being Near Your Customer:  While rank and file federal workers may have the ability to work remotely some or all of the time, senior executives will continue to be in an office on a regular basis.  These are the decision makers that contractors want to develop or strengthen relationships with.  They often create or manage critical programs on which contractors work.  Being able to regularly interact with agency leadership remains key to success.  As such, being physically close to such officials will continue to be important.

2.  People Still Like To Meet In Person:  An article in today’s Wall Street Journal states that professional gatherings are back.  People, especially parents with children at home, like to get out and network with other professionals.  Regardless of the personal motivations, the preference of many for in-person vs. virtual meetings is undeniable.  Contractors need to ensure that they support opportunities for their workforce to attend conferences, expos, and other events, regardless of whether they primarily work from home or an office.  Learning from others and making new relationships helps your business stay on top of trends and build new partnerships.

3. Company Gatherings Help Build Loyalty and Synergy:  It’s not just customer meetings.  Internal company meetings are vital as well.  While there are benefits to having access to talent wherever people may reside, contractors need to keep in mind that full-time remote workers sometimes have remote ideas of loyalty or that they’re part of a larger team.  Bringing people together on a regular basis can help retain talented remote workers and can foster ideas and collaboration that working remotely cannot.  We’ve seen several instances of remote workers griping about having to go into an office, only to acknowledge that there were real benefits to doing so at regular intervals.  The federal and contractor workforces are changing.  Knowing what that means for your business helps ensure that the bottom-line changes for the better.