Posted on February 14, 2022
Over nearly the past two years, the world has changed. As the COVID-19 pandemic sent millions of workers home, owners of commercial real estate have had to deal with the fallout. And many wonder what the future holds. Will working from home become the norm or will employers welcome their employees back into shared office spaces?
Going “back to normal” may not happen exactly as we’ve expected it to, but there is certainly still a need for commercial office space in the future. While it may not look the same as it did pre-pandemic, the office is simply being reimagined and retooled to fit the needs of all workers.
Before COVID took employees out of their offices and into their bedrooms for daily Zoom meetings, only about 6% of the U.S. workforce worked remotely. By May 2020, that number increased to nearly one-third of the workforce. Many employers realized that the tasks they assumed had to be performed in the office were actually well-suited to remote work. In addition, many employees realized that they enjoyed the more laid-back schedule of teleworking, especially if they had been commuting every day to the office.
Among the pros of remote work reported by both employers and employees were the ability to balance life and work more easily and the financial savings that businesses got by reducing their office space. Many in the workforce found that they felt more productive working from home and some even felt like their stress was better managed.
However, there have been some concerns for business owners and their employees regarding remote work. Some have felt that collaboration was hindered by technology and the inability to be together in-person. This challenge is further complicated by the reduction in feelings of belonging to a group of like-minded employees in an office setting.
As the pandemic has continued, many employees and bosses have found that a combination of both remote work, that provides flexibility, and in-office work, that promotes better collaboration, is what will work best for the future of their organizations.
The need for commercial real estate hasn’t diminished, it has simply changed. In order to meet the needs of their employees, managers are looking for office spaces that allow for socially-distanced working, as well as enforced hygiene procedures to keep everyone safe.
Many workers want to come back to the office, they just don’t want to do so five days a week. Managers are helping their employees create flex schedules that combine remote and in-person work in a way that balances safety and productivity. For some, that may look like every other day in the office and for others, it may be one week at home, one week in the office.
So, while there is still much need for commercial office space, coiit is changing. Rather than large spaces designed to fit a huge volume of employees, organizations may be looking for smaller units that can fit a reduced number of employees at a given time, especially if they are alternating time in the office. Keep in mind that the impacts of these changes are only applicable to certain industries. There are specific markets that will likely always require quite a bit of commercial real estate to remain functional, including manufacturing.
As the world learns to live with COVID-19 and beyond, the future feels brighter. When it comes to commercial real estate, you can likely expect an increase in demand as more workers return to their offices, even if it is in a more limited capacity. If you’re on the lookout for a commercial office space, contact Chris Falk today. He can help you find exactly what you need, no matter your industry.