Landlords are preparing for the reality that office usage will look much different as companies slowly bring their employees back to the workplace.
There is still a lot of uncertainty with the post-pandemic office, with organizations wary of making long-term commitments to space.
“The question that a lot of people are asking right now is, ‘Let’s assume we still want to have an office. What is it that is in the office that adds real value?’” said Dean Shapiro, Head of U.S. Developments at Oxford Properties. “I don’t think we’re going to have a real answer to this for some time.”
The most important factors of office buildings should include amenities, health and wellness, as well as more environmentally-conscious tools.
In buildings that don’t offer high-quality products or locations, vacancies are expected to stay high for the time being. For instance, Manhattan’s office availability hit a record high last year, even after the companies in the city began to bring employees back into the office.
Some experts have suggested repositioning older products and bringing them up-to-date to current standards. However, this doesn’t negate buildings that are located in neighborhoods that do not feature the latest real estate developments.
“This is going to be a giant experiment that will last a few years where we see which users get it right and we see the ones that didn’t, maybe didn’t get it right at first adjusting their program,” said Alexis Michael, Managing Director at Hines. “People are going to have to see what works.”