HEALTH SYSTEMS REEXAMINE OFFICE SPACE NEEDS POST-PANDEMIC: As companies in all sectors find their employees prefer to keep working from home, health systems are making moves to accommodate the change and unload office space.
Amita Health is trying to unload its office space in Lisle with the largest sublease listing in the Chicago suburbs, Crain's reported on Wednesday. Illinois' largest hospital network said it made the decision after a survey of nonclinical workers "found many based at our Lisle system headquarters preferred working remotely and were able to do so without interruption," a spokeswoman said in a statement.
Health systems across the Chicago area are making similar calculations. Subleasing space could help companies save cash while they recover from a year in which COVID caused patient volume to fall and expenses to increase.
Advocate Aurora Health said it is reassessing its real estate needs, saying it wants to "create more innovative, collaborative and productive workspaces while lowering our costs," according to spokeswoman Brigid Sweeney.
The health system recently vacated some non-headquarter office space in both Oak Brook and in the Milwaukee area when leases concluded at the end of 2020, she said in the statement. Sweeney said when Advocate Aurora reopens its headquarters in Downers Grove and Milwaukee, it plans to implement a "hybrid approach that combines remote work with office hoteling."
"These decisions are not an indication of downsizing teams, but rather of our ability to reorganize to create a more engaging and collaborative work environment," she said. "COVID-19 has taught us that many team members can effectively work remotely — and enjoy doing so."
Edward-Elmhurst Health is also re-evaluating office space needs at its Warrenville Corporate Center, with the expectation of repurposing some space for other uses, said spokesman Keith Hartenberger.
"During COVID-19, we’ve learned that many employees can work effectively from home and remote locations," he said. "Some of our work force will continue to do so as we move out of and past the pandemic. Those decisions are being made based on the needs of each department."
Edward-Elmhurst Health has leased about 188,000 square feet in Warrenville since 2019 and had about 1,000 employees working in the corporate headquarters before the pandemic hit.