By Shawn Chitnis
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – Denver South, the economic development partnership and transportation management association, met with its members on Tuesday to discuss the transition back to the office — more than 14 months into the pandemic. Thirty percent of businesses that are members of the regional group say they are currently working to get employees back in the building.

(credit: CBS)

“The workplace will look very different when we return,” said Sheryl Machado, the director of communications and public affairs for Denver South.
“It’s complicated, there is no black or white definitive rule or policy that is going to tell us how to get back to work.”
Denver South is a nonprofit that covers a geographic area spanning from Interstate 225 to Douglas County, and includes multiple jurisdictions. It covers 15,000 businesses and 240,000 workers — the office space occupied is more than 48 million square feet. Machado says that is more than all of Downtown Denver.

(credit: CBS)

The organization works on economic development as well as recruitment and retention. On the transportation side, they focus on mobility including the movement of goods and people through the region. All issues that continue to evolve during the pandemic.
“Employees like it, they want to have a sense of flexibility and I think as we return, many of our employers will continue to offer some sort of hybrid approach,” she said after attending a private panel session for its members on returning to work.
While some of their businesses rely on frontline workers who never could leave their retail space, others had specialized equipment and technology restrictions that kept them at the workplace. The combination of those companies, with the others who did move to a remote workflow, capture the range of industries all navigating the start of a second year in the pandemic.
“The region is going to bounce back, but I don’t think we ever had a significant dip,” Machado told CBS4.
She says some companies saw productivity increase with employees at home, clocking longer days than they would in the office. Those with the ability to offer different return to work options will do it not only for their current employees but those who could work for them in the future.
“We are looking at a talent pool that is looking for flexibility,” she said about Generation Z applicants.

Shawn Chitnis