COVID-19 Affecting Office Location as much as Office Design

Back in the early 1900s, the United States saw a mass migration from farm to city, as people left the wide open horizons for jobs and opportunities in the big city, where industrialization and growth was percolating. Fast-forward to the year 2020, when the opposite began to happen: urbanization one hundred years ago has turned into suburbanization today due to the world-wide coronavirus pandemic.

SDI Architecture, a Boston-based international architectural and interior design firm that develops distinct, custom designs, centered upon the user’s experience, is seeing the impact of COVID on both office design and office location firsthand, as client needs are changing to overcome the challenges of the pandemic.

“As architects, we are seeing a major shift in the types of spaces that businesses are looking to implement and a significant change in the areas where new construction is taking place,” said Ben Williams, owner of SDI Architecture. “Businesses are rethinking design to keep employees safe, but a large factor in keeping people safe is minimizing the number of interactions that will occur, which decreases drastically by leaving the urban centers.”

With an abundance of outdoor space available in office parks outside of the densely populated city, businesses of all sizes and types are packing up and leaving their former pricey downtown locations. Another pull to the ‘burbs is that businesses are following the talent. Long before companies began their move, workers who were suddenly working from home opted for the lower rents and increased space and safety of outlying districts.

In Boston, sales of luxury condos in the center of the city dropped 75% during the summer, while single-family home sales rose immensely and saw an average price increase of 4.5% over the summer compared to 2019. NBC news recently reported that 43% of millennials within a survey group are considering a move, and many are considering rural towns. It is no wonder that businesses are following suit.

“This is a good thing, this migration will keep people safe and improve quality of life,” continued Williams. “We are working with companies to figure out how to keep people working in person, like building open-air outdoor conference rooms that can be used the majority of the year. These conference rooms require ample outdoor space, space that doesn’t exist within city limits. These outdoor features are extremely attractive to businesses in the new working environment where most individual work is accomplished at home and the office is primarily used as a gathering place for meetings and socialization.”


SDI Architecture is an international architectural and interior design firm that is disrupting the design industry through a collaborative design process that engages the client and consultants in developing distinct, custom designs, centered upon the user’s experience. SDI Architecture creates distinct designs that capture the client’s identity through the visual and physical experience of the built environment. We achieve this by working hand-in-hand with clients to understand their mission, culture, audiences and goals. We then use that knowledge to design a customized space that addresses their needs. For businesses, that includes maximizing productivity, efficiency, and employee satisfaction and health.

SDI Architecture is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts with design offices in India and the U.S. For more information on SDI Architecture please visit