Capitalizing on the Office Market Following Covid-19

Since the beginning of Covid-19 lockdowns, offices have been almost empty, employers have been asking their employees to work from home, and to everyone’s surprise, they’ve been enjoying the change. While many are asking the question “when will we return to normal”, the innovators are pondering a different question: “what will reality look like after Covid?” 

Do employees really want to return to the office in full force? Do employers want their entire workforce onsite? In one office, all at the same time? Or will the office market look very different in a few months? 

In spite of losing out on the social aspect we enjoy from being present at the office, the truth of the matter is that working remotely is significantly safer and more productive to everyone’s benefit. Several employers have already taken notice and will plan accordingly for the future. 

Across the pond, Prime Minister Boris Johnson specifically ruled out a return to normal. “After all we have been through, it isn’t enough just to go back to normal. We have lost too much. History teaches us that things of this magnitude – wars, famines, plagues, events that affect the vast bulk of humanity, as this virus has – they do not just come and go. They can be the trigger for economic and social change.” And he’s right.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, high tech companies have taken leaps forward to migrate anything and everything online. But this is not a new idea, it’s been coming since the year 2000 and some will argue that it’s about time. 

When we consider the medical industry, the shift is already permanent, at least in part. To our benefit, we are now able to meet medical professionals through alternate means (phone, video, etc.). We can save time and have the opportunity to schedule a consultation with THE subject matter expert on any given topic. On the medical side, the deeper engagement of technology will make it easier to leverage big data for additional medical advancements – something that benefits us all.

Real estate is no different. What previously took numerous visits and hours of time can already be accomplished in only a few clicks. In my opinion, the shift will be prevalent in both primary and secondary markets, making micro spaces and or co-working spaces attractive to those who require a fraction of the physical space they once did. 

For existing office spaces or restaurants, which are too big or compact for traditional use, it is likely that we will see a shift to smaller hubs or local food markets in the future. In certain cases, the storefront real estate could be made into a pickup centre for online orders, and the offices above street level could house data networks or other technology related hardware. Time will tell, but one thing that we’ve learned is that manufacturing and distribution are exceedingly important!

As property owners, there is no doubt going to be an opportunity to leverage what we have. The only question is who will be best prepared for the new future of our office space and of our economy. The future is now.

I want to hear what you have to say. Add your thoughts to the comments and let’s keep this conversation going.

 – For Real Estate Trends, I’m Moses Gross.

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About the author

Moses Gross

I am a New York-based real estate entrepreneur and have personally developed, managed, and invested in the national market for over 20 years.

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