Office Utilization – AVC

I noticed a statistic from certainly one of our bigger portfolio corporations yesterday. They’ve had their workplaces world wide open for a while now with workplace utilization non-obligatory. They’re seeing workplace utilization charges of round “20-30%.” They’re additionally seeing “flexibility” because the primary difficulty in recruiting new expertise.

That was attention-grabbing to me as a result of we’re seeing a a lot increased workplace utilization at USV. We saved our workplaces open for a lot of the final 18 months and inspired a return to the workplace as soon as we have been all vaccinated in early April. On most days, we see about half of our group coming into the workplace. I believe that quantity was increased within the spring and will probably be increased within the fall. We additionally see mates within the VC enterprise and startup world working at our workplace now and again and that has been implausible.

We’ve got additionally seen that workplace utilization is far increased for our group members that dwell in NYC vs the suburbs, which isn’t shocking. This chart says all of it:

We surveyed our portfolio corporations final month on the subject of their work setting plans. We obtained 56 responses which is a tad below 50% of our lively portfolio so this information might be off a bit. However it’s attention-grabbing. Pre-pandemic, 75% of those respondents have been absolutely “in workplace” with a lot of the relaxation utilizing some kind of hybrid mannequin. Only a few have been absolutely distant. Now the distribution seems to be like this:

That may be a dramatic change from the pre-pandemic norm. I’m positive that there will probably be some motion again to the workplace after we get to a brand new regular, no matter and each time that’s, however it doesn’t matter what, tech corporations have moved away from the “absolutely in-person” mannequin and that may imply very completely different workplace utilization fashions.

We additionally requested our portfolio corporations about “seat to worker” ratios and obtained these responses:

For these corporations that may proceed to have an workplace, it seems to be like the typical seat to worker ratio nets out round 65%. And that’s for the 75% of the respondents that plan to have some kind of workplace.

At USV, we’re taking a contrarian strategy to the workplace. We plan to construct a brand new workplace that may seat 100% of our workers and we would like to have the ability to host board conferences and different occasions incessantly. We’re additionally taking a look at different methods to ask the broader “neighborhood” to work and be at USV commonly.

However that doesn’t imply we’ll anticipate our workers to be on the workplace every single day. We perceive that these with lengthy commutes and youngsters or dad and mom at dwelling want extra flexibility and now we have seen that offering that flexibility builds loyalty and dedication. So we’ll proceed to help that approach of working.

Startups and high-growth corporations appear to have embraced absolutely or partially distant fashions for essentially the most half in an try to draw and retain expertise and leverage the elevated productiveness that comes from eliminating lengthy and painful commute occasions.

However that doesn’t imply an workplace isn’t a great factor now and again. It might be that organizations that help startups and high-growth corporations, like USV, can step into the combination and be a part of that reply. That’s an attention-grabbing thought to me and one which USV is taking a look at proper now.

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