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Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

As more companies lean towards a hybrid setup, many are cutting back their headquarters and putting smaller offices close to where workers are.

Why it matters: White-collar employees want flexibility, but they don't necessarily want to keep working from their bedrooms. Smaller satellite offices could give employees places to work without the pre-pandemic commute.

By the numbers: A March survey by the consulting group KPMG found that 69% of CEOs plan on reducing their overall office footprint over the next 3 years in response to pandemic-driven work trends.

  • At the same time, relatively few companies are planning on going fully remote and abandoning the office altogether.

The big picture: That opens the door for what Adam Segal, CEO of the real estate technology company cove, calls the "hub-and-spoke model for office life."

  • "As a worker, I want to get out of home, but I don't want to go far," he says. "So we should create a network of locations that tap into the future, which is going to be distributed."

How it works: In Segal's vision, companies would still keep a smaller central office — the hub — that is complemented by spokes that stretch out closer to where employees are living.

  • "The number one spoke is going to be the home," he says — a recognition that in the hybrid age, there's little reason to travel for heads down, solo work.
  • But remote work can be buttressed with "smaller satellite offices that are branded to the company," he adds, where employees can do collaborative work or simply get out of the house.

Between the lines: The Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom has found that most of the people who left cities during the pandemic moved to nearby suburbs, not distant Zoom towns.

  • That means large companies will likely have just enough employee density to put new spokes in suddenly more populated suburbs — saving them a long daily commute, but keeping them tied to the firm.

Go deeper

Sep 24, 2021 - Economy & Business

The golden age of HR

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The role of charting the future of work and workplaces is no longer just the purview of the chief executive officer or the chief technology officer — it's also front-and-center for the chief people officer.

Why it matters: The human resources department is vaulting in importance as companies grapple with return-to-work plans and the war for talent is won on corporate values and culture.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

North Korea claims latest missile test new weapon launched from submarine

North Korean state media claims the country's military fired this missile on Tuesday. Photo: Korean Central News Agency

North Korean state media announced that a detected ballistic missile launch off its east coast on Tuesday was a newly developed weapon test-fired from a submarine.

Why it matters: Pyongyang's latest in a series of recent missile launches into the sea happened hours after U.S. officials emphasized their commitment to restart negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons program, which have stalled since talks broke down during the Trump administration, AP notes.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Manchin's massive means test

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is offering progressives a trade: He'll vote for their cherished social programs if they accept strict income caps for the recipients, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Manchin’s plan to use so-called means-testing for everything from paid family medical leave to elder and disabled care would drastically shrink the size and scope of the programs. It also would bring a key moderate vote to the progressive cause.