With many employers making work-from-home a permanent option—or embracing hybrid workforces—a number of Hawaiʻi businesses are downsizing their office spaces.

plan to downsize

Hawaiʻi-based businesses aren’t alone in this sentiment. 53% of companies in a recent CBRE survey reported plans to downsize their footprint in the next three years.

Given the high cost of real estate in Hawaiʻi, downsizing your office space can be a smart economic choice. Additionally, downsizing offers the opportunity to redesign your office space so it’s better suited to the unique needs of a hybrid workforce.

If you’re looking at downsizing your office on Oʻahu, Maui, the Big Island, or Kauaʻi, we’ll show you what you need to know to make a simple transition to your new space—or your new configuration.

#1: Don’t Just Downsize—Reimagine

Companies embracing a hybrid workforce may immediately think “smaller” when considering the future of their office space. A reduced footprint can be a smart way for a Hawaiʻi-based company to trim its (usually expensive) real estate costs.

However, it’s important to recognize that a hybrid workspace plays a different role than a traditional one.

How have your remote work/return-to-office policies impacted the way team members use your office? Will they come in primarily to work face-to-face in collaborative settings? Will multiple teams need to meet at the same time? Will office attendance be staggered, or will everyone be in on the same days?

By understanding how your team will use your office—now and into the future—you’ll be able to design a space to help your hybrid workforce function at its peak.

For example, you may want to consider things like:

More Collaborative Space

Many companies have asked workers to return to the office so that teams can work together in person. For example, CEO Tim Cook based Apple’s return-to-work mandates on the belief that in-office collaboration was key to the company’s success.

prioritizing collaborative space

Apple isn’t alone in encouraging in-person teamwork. 50% of respondents in the CBRE Office Occupier Sentiment Survey will reimagine their office space to prioritize the quality and quantity of collaboration space.

If in-person collaboration is a priority in your hybrid workplace, make sure you’ve got plenty of spaces where your team can work together.

This might mean replacing high-walled cubicles with an open-plan layout that makes it easier for team members to interact. Or, it could mean adding an additional conference room so different teams can meet at the same time without disturbing each other. If these conference rooms become an in-demand feature at your office, you may also consider a reservation system to make scheduling simpler.

Dedicated Video Conferencing Space

Will your business require everyone to be in the office on the same days each week? If not, you may need to provide ways for in-office teams to virtually conference in remote workers.

This might mean investing in enhanced video conferencing abilities within your collaborative spaces. Speakerphones might have done the trick pre-pandemic. However, now that video conferencing via Zoom or Teams is commonplace, you’ll want to consider a dedicated video conferencing setup that connects off-site and on-site employees seamlessly.

Desk Sharing Policies

As you downsize—and reconfigure—your footprint, you also might want to rethink any one-desk, one-person policies you formerly had in place.

anticipating desk-sharing

58% of the companies in the CBRE real estate survey currently have a 1:1 employee-to-desk ratio (or less). In two years, 52% anticipate allocating up to two employees per desk.

Asking workers to share desks offers an immediate way to reduce your footprint—or make room for other features that your new hybrid office demands.

#2: Invite Feedback on Office Amenities

Not all workers are enthusiastic about return-to-work policies. The more you can engage your employees on the future of your hybrid office space, the more likely you are to create a work environment they’ll want to return to.

As you gather feedback, ask your employees about the amenities and features of the office. As the most frequent users of this space, they’ll have valuable input to offer on topics like:

  • If your office has a reception area, could it be reduced? Or do you greet enough visitors such that the square footage should stay the same?
  • What kind of break area do employees want to see? Is a kitchenette enough? Would amenities like a break room with a Keurig machine (or other perks, like snacks and drinks) make the return to the office more palatable?
  • What didn’t work about the old office space?
  • What would they like to see in the new office space?

By soliciting employee feedback, you’ll help your employees feel more invested in their new workspace, which can make a return to the office more appealing.

#3: Select Your Moving Company with Care

Whether you’re relocating to a new office space, changing out your furnishings to accommodate a new layout, or simply rearranging your office in your current location, it pays to call in the pros for assistance.

A professional office and industrial (O&I) mover will handle everything quickly and efficiently, minimizing disruption to your business operations. Experienced providers will be able to disassemble and assemble your office furnishings quickly and move everything safely to its new location, preventing potential damage to your furnishings—or to the building.

As you’re selecting a provider for your commercial move, make sure to ask about:

Looking Ahead to the Future: Hybrid Offices


Downsizing your office offers you a significant opportunity—one that goes beyond simply reducing your real estate expenses. By taking the time to understand exactly how your business will operate with a hybrid workforce, you’ll get the chance to design an office space that will support your employees’ needs, encourage collaboration, and raise the level of engagement—all wins for your business in the long term.


Need help with downsizing or moving your office? Our team has partnered with local Hawaiʻi businesses on successful commercial moves across the state. We’d love to help you minimize disruptions to your operations, protect your assets, and deliver a smooth, hassle-free experience. Just reach out to our team for a complimentary quote.


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