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How MathWorks Expands and Defies Office Downsizing in Tech

Posted by Anne on March 1, 2023


MathWorks, a global leader in software development, is bucking the office downsizing trend in the tech industry with its unique approach to office space utilization and expansion. This case study explores how MathWorks, with the guidance of R.W. Holmes Commercial Real Estate, is innovating its real estate strategy at a time when many tech companies are downsizing their office spaces.


For over three decades, R.W. Holmes has played a pivotal role in MathWorks’ growth, now boasting 1.2 million square feet in Natick and 30 locations worldwide. In recent years, particularly post-pandemic, MathWorks has faced the challenge of adapting its office strategy to the evolving work environment.

The Challenge

The primary challenge for MathWorks was to develop a post-pandemic office strategy that aligns with the changing dynamics of work culture. The goal was to make offices more appealing and practical for employees, encouraging a balance between remote and in-office work.

Strategy Highlights

Return to Work Mandate via Competitor Benchmarking

In early 2023, MathWorks implemented a policy requiring employees to work in the office for at least three days per week. This decision was based on an analysis of work-from-home policies of major competitors and regional companies.

Strategic Global Office Locations

R.W. Holmes advises MathWorks on its global office locations by focusing on areas that will attract its ideal employees. Analyses have shown that the ideal employee demographic lives in lively, transit-oriented suburbs near major city hubs. This strategy reduces commute times and increases office attendance.

Flight to Quality

To compete with home offices, MathWorks ensures that its global offices are located in premium buildings with modern amenities. This approach is designed to attract employees back to the office.

Aligning Real Estate with Company Culture

MathWorks’ expansion is driven by more than just growth; it’s about aligning office space with company culture. The offices are tailored to enhance hiring and retention, with a focus on:

  • Collaboration spaces and group-focused amenities
  • Free, premium amenities not available in home offices
  • Office designs that maximize employee efficiency based on job functions

  • Impact on Real Estate Strategy Advisory

    R.W. Holmes leverages their extensive real estate market knowledge and experience to shape the real estate strategies of their clients. We focus on finding the unique value of the office for each client in terms of utilization, hiring/retention, and employee efficiency. This approach significantly influences the recommendations regarding location, layout, size, and budget for each client.


    MathWorks’ innovative approach to office space, developed in partnership with R.W. Holmes, bucks the trend of office downsizing in the tech industry. By focusing on employee needs and aligning office spaces with company culture, MathWorks demonstrates the enduring value of physical office space in a post-pandemic world.

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