Even as life slowly returns to a new form of “normal,” commercial real estate professionals said the impact of COVID-19 on office culture is their top concern of the industry.
According to a new survey released by the Counselors of Real Estate, remote work and mobility concerned commercial real estate professionals the most. With many companies going completely remote, or allowing employees to work remote part-time, less office space is needed. While that may mean less foot traffic in urban areas than pre-COVID, industry professionals remain optimistic that at least some life will return to retail and restaurants. Regardless, the organization advises those involved in the office and retail industry to be more flexible with leases to hopefully fill some of the vacancies left by the pandemic’s shutdown of the country.
“Remote working and mobility is something that is quite concerning to the real estate industry as to what behaviors, and to what extent, remote working will stick, and time will tell,” said Michel Couillard, the Counselors of Real Estate’s CRE 2021 global chair, told The Commercial Observer. “COVID really impacted human behavior in terms of where and how space will be used, and there will probably be a need for commercial properties to reposition in order to meet that changing demand.”
As evolving technology allows more workers to be remote, the report ranked technology innovation and acceleration as its second biggest concern. Commercial real estate professionals need to adapt to the ever-changing world. With so many trends emerging, it can be difficult to determine what will stay and what to learn to expand your business, but the adoption of technology is crucial to the business. Cybersecurity is an issue that professionals need to be aware of, as is supply chain, as noted by the rising cost of residential real estate. thanks to shortage of supplies.
Other concerns expected to influence the commercial real estate industry this year include environmental, social and government initiatives, logistics, the need for more infrastructure development, housing supply and affordability, political polarization, economic structural change, adaptive reuse for areas of blight and bifurcation of capital markets.