A survey released Monday shows 7 in 10 businesses permanently closed some or all office spaces since the start of the pandemic.

“Once the pandemic hit and we were forced to move out, we suddenly found ourselves appreciating the benefits of working from home,” said Steve Presser who serves as President of Tampa company, BeniComp. Like hundreds of thousands of businesses across the country, Tampa business BeniComp also had to pivot due to the pandemic.

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When you look at the Tampa Bay business climate you see some employers thriving and others having to close up shop. But when you rewind to the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, many were forced to reassess when it came to workspace options.

“With all the uncertainty around Covid and how uncomfortable employees were, we did make the decision to move fully remote,” said Presser. According to the study by Digital.com, of 1,250 businesses who initially had staff working on site before the pandemic, 69% of them reported having permanently closed some or all office spaces since March 2020.

BeniComp found a hybrid approach and the driving decision was the people working there.

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“A business is made up of their employees. We need to know that they are safe and then because we made the decision to go remote, it was very much a focus on IT,” said Presser.

According to that study, other reasons businesses went remote include saving money, equal or increased productivity, and continued health concerns.

“But nobody has ever been through a pandemic like this. So, a lot of it was us talking on a daily basis and then going to our employees and saying ‘hey how are things going? And so I would recommend for other businesses to be open minded,” said Presser. “We’ll probably listen to our employees and, as long as it makes sense for the business, we’ll move in that direction.” In some ways, he says, the pandemic’s impact on business was helpful as employment nearly doubled there.

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“We’ve grown 43% year to date so we are going through this phase of hybrid growth which makes it incredibly difficult to plan for an office space,” he said.