Expiration Of Federal Aid Causes A Dip In Rent Payment
A report from property management software firm Rentec Direct revealed that rent payments in August 2020 had fallen 29% year-over-year and 12% in the past five months.
This indicates that the federal aid offering an additional $600 in unemployment that expired August 1 is having negative repercussions, particularly as office vacancies remain low due to employees working from home.
“Our data shows a consistent downward trend in the number of rent payments received by property managers and landlords, dropping more than 12 percent in the last five months alone,” said Nathan Miller, president of Rentec Direct. “Many tenants are relying on various temporary regulations that protect them as widespread unemployment and income loss impact the nation, and this means fewer renters are paying their rent.”
Additionally, the research also revealed that there has also been an 11% dip in online payments compared to March of this year.
The report consisted of data from the company’s internal data of 620,000 rental properties across the country and reflected numbers from the first week of the past five months, when rent is typically due.
Technology Company Leasing Drops
A new report from CBRE has found technology companies stayed the leader in US office leasing and renewals. This news comes as technology office space take up declined by almost half in the second quarter compared to the year earlier.
According to Colin Yasukochi, executive director of CBRE’s Tech Insights Center, to explain why there is a slowdown in office leasing, and what to expect from the future of leasing.
“Last quarter’s decline in office leasing by tech companies is directly related to government-ordered shelter-in-place restrictions, business uncertainty, and the additional work-from-home flexibility that many tech companies are allowing their employees during the pandemic,” said Yasukochi. “That has led to the delay of many real estate leasing commitments until there is more clarity on growth prospects and any fundamental changes in how we use office space going forward.”
Yasukochi added that while technology companies have listed much of their space for sublease, other companies in the hospitality, retail, and restaurant industries are doing the same. This has particularly impacted the San Francisco area.
Moving forward, Yasukochi believes that technology office leasing will rise in the third quarter, but recovery in leasing may take up to a year to build back up.
Comparing Predictions About The Future Of Work To Today
At the beginning of 2020, predictions about the future of work did not take into account a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic, a major recession and a civil rights movement that has shaken the world to its core.
For starters, original predictions of the workplace included the importance of employee wellness through various recruitment strategies and how it would take center stage. Now, wellness is still an essential part of how a company operates with slight alterations. Workers are now juggling working from home with childcare responsibilities and a lack of socialization. This has cut into work-life balance for many, so it is vital for employers to emphasize taking care of both their physical and mental health.
Another prediction included modernizing paid time off, family leave and more. While these are still of the utmost importance to a healthy workplace, it is even more so now that the boundaries between home and work life continue to blur. Many workers have even started working more hours to justify their role, especially as layoffs continue to sweep across the country.
Activism as part of a company’s brand and improving employer-employee relations was another prediction, and the issue of #BlackLivesMatter and other movements have accelerated the need for organizations to speak up. At the very least, business leaders need to be prepared to have difficult and sensitive conversations with their employees.
The Evolution Of The Future Of Work
Workplace wellness once meant having a breakout room with foosball tables, beanbag chairs and kombucha bars. Now, companies are having to scratch beyond the surface to ensure that their workers are healthy both physically and mentally.
In a post-pandemic workplace, companies will have to make the extra effort to nurture innovation in the workplace. At the heart of this innovation is some of the fastest technology integration our society has ever seen. This acceleration includes augmented reality collaboration tools, air purification systems, contactless payments and more that make working from home or in an office seamless as possible.
Still, wellness for a remote workforce has been more difficult to navigate. However, business leaders have begun to recognize the importance of encouraging their employees to be engaged in virtual fitness classes and even digital socialization with colleagues with events like Zoom happy hours.
Along with emphasizing how essential keeping up with physical and mental health from home is, employers also need to lead with more empathy. This means becoming more adaptable to the evolving world around us, and being open to changing their managerial strategies to better suit a distributed workforce.
Leaders should also listen to what their employees need in terms of a work environment. While some thrive in a home office setting, others are finding it hard to focus on work. By offering a hybrid work arrangement that allows workers to make their own choice, businesses can continue to thrive.
Management Agreements Are Growing In Popularity
In recent months, landlords have started partnering up with flexible office operators to provide their own flexible workspace as the pandemic continues to impact the industry.
For instance, New York-based Industrious has signed management agreements with nearly 40 different office landlords, while Knotel’s management agreements make up around quarter of its total portfolio.
“Larger flex operators with a growing portfolio are the ones entertaining these types of agreements,” said Tashi Dorjee, flexible space solutions lead at JLL Australia and New Zealand. “They have the resources to propose a financially attractive business model, guide the design and build process, plus they have the capacity to train and manage on-site staff, and fill the space to generate revenue.”
These partnerships have become more appealing to landlords because, despite taking on the risk of outfitting these spaces, they also receive a bigger slice of revenue and decrease the overall risks of leasing their space out. Additionally, as many companies have shifted to operating with a distributed workforce, demand for flexible workspaces is expected to spike in the coming months.
This agreement might already sound familiar as it is the mainstay of many hotel companies, where chains do not own the properties, but simply operate the space and provide a portion of revenue to the landlord.
Entering such management agreements allows landlords to diversify their portfolio, while attracting new and existing tenants to their buildings.
Don’t Dismiss The Office Yet
According to a survey from researchers at MIT, one-third of the workforce has moved to remote working positions, resulting in around half of American workers working from home between February and May 2020.
This move has led many analysts to proclaim that the office is dead and the future of work is strictly remote. However, it is clear that this is not a one-size-fits-all approach and realistically depends on the occupation.
The US has seen a slow return to the office due to the little control over the pandemic in many areas, but in countries where it is better managed, there are higher rates of return. In fact, a survey from Morgan Stanley saw 83% of French and 76% of Italian office staff have already returned to their workspaces.
Even more, leaders continue to worry about the impact remote working can have on productivity. Although research has indicated that working from home can improve productivity, the difference at the moment is the ability to choose this work arrangement, and being forced into it due to a pandemic.
Another problem that remote workers have run into is the lack of connection with their colleagues. Face-to-face interactions are key to building networks and advancing careers, which can create a roadblock for women who fear of being bumped onto the “mommy track.”
Overall, it is clear that while remote working does carry its own benefits, moving to a strictly distributed workforce would not be in the best interest of employers or employees. Instead, offering hybrid work arrangements would provide the most accommodating solution.
Aayat is an editor for the Daily Digest based in Lexington, Kentucky. She has worked with local coworking spaces since August of 2017 and enjoys taking her firsthand knowledge to write about the fascinating, constantly evolving world of flexible workspaces.