LogMeIn is the latest company to decide it needs much less office space, as it prepares for a post-pandemic reality in which most of its employees will work primarily from home.
On Wednesday, chief executive Bill Wagner said LogMeIn will need only half of the space at corporate headquarters on Summer Street in Boston. The cutback, he said, is part of a broader plan to trim about one-third of the software company’s office space around the world. LogMeIn has about 700 employees in Boston and nearly 4,000 worldwide.
Wagner also discussed making LogMeIn a “permanent remote-centric company” in an announcement on LinkedIn.
At its headquarters, LogMeIn leases about 230,000 square feet, split between two buildings on either side of Summer Street in Fort Point. But going forward, the company will use just one, at 333 Summer. The space in the other building, at 320 Summer, will be subleased.
Wagner said that once the pandemic is over, he expects only 5 percent of employees will be in the office five days a week. (For now, LogMeIn’s offices in Boston are closed until April 1.) Another 30 to 50 percent will work a “remote hybrid” model, going to the office one to two days a week; the rest will be primarily remote, heading in only occasionally, for group meetings or company events, for example.
“There’s no looking back for us,” Wagner said. “We’ve all lived it. We know it can work. If we’re thoughtful about it, there are a lot of advantages on the personal level and at the company level.”
Among those advantages: the ability to hire from a much bigger talent pool. For example, LogMeIn’s new chief financial officer, Rich Veldran, lives and works in New Jersey. “Two years ago, that would have been hard to imagine,” Wagner said.
You can count Wagner, a father of school-age children, among those who will go into the office only one or two days a week.
“What it means is you will not go to the same desk every day" in the office, Wagner said. “Where you spend most of your time will be your home office.”
This represents a much bigger shift than what Wagner discussed with the Globe in July. At that time, he projected bringing 20 percent of the workforce back into the office full time, with the rest on a hybrid schedule or fully remote.
That shift verged on drastic at the time. But since then, numerous other Boston CEOs have shared similar expectations with the Globe.
LogMeIn specializes in software that enables this kind of remote work — products such as GoToMeeting, LastPass, and join.me. So Wagner said it’s natural for the company to be at the forefront of this trend.
Before the pandemic, more than 90 percent of LogMeIn’s Boston employees went into the office full time. Now, Wagner said, fewer than 10 percent say they want to return to the five-days-a-week routine.
“What a sea change that is, in a short period of time,” Wagner said.
As a result, the corporate office will become more of a central meeting place than a location to fulfill the daily grind. There will certainly be cost savings under LogMeIn’s new owners, the private equity firms Francisco Partners and Evergreen Coast Capital. But Wagner expects some of the savings, from giving up or subleasing real estate, will be offset by new expenses, such as work-at-home reimbursements, ranging from new monitors to air conditioners.
To make the days at home more manageable, Wagner is calling for a reduction in mandatory meetings, potentially by as much as 25 percent. And he is emphasizing that bosses need to be flexible about allowing employees to work varying schedules, and adjust to the fact that people will no longer always be available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“You can’t do something like forbidding people from going to the dry cleaner during the day,” Wagner said. “We’re really excited about the energy employees have shown through this, but you have to have empathy.”
Jon Chesto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.