Just in time for the Great Return of tenants to the office this summer, the results of the Q2 2021 BOMA International COVID-19 Commercial Real Estate Impact Study are now available, revealing the transformational effect of the pandemic on the commercial office sector and workplace. Drawing from the responses of more than 3,000 U.S. commercial office space decision-makers, the Q2 2021 study reveals that optimism around the return to the office is growing, mediated by tenants’ increasing clarity around the new normal of office and remote work practices. Broader understanding around how tenants expect the workforce will engage with the office moving forward—and which actions they prefer property owners and operators take to accommodate these changes—are among the central touchpoints illuminated by the survey responses. This is the second in a series of studies commissioned by BOMA International, underwritten by Yardi and developed by Brightline Strategies. To learn more about the study, read our press release.
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- 64% of respondents want building owners and operators to make additional investments that go above and beyond health and wellness measures put in place during COVID-19. This includes either infrastructure and technology to mitigate future health emergencies or amenities, programming and platforms that support tenants’ efforts to increase organizational culture, connectivity, productivity and well-being.
- Full-time remote work will not become the norm, but tenants do anticipate a clear shift toward hybrid work options. As respondents reported, the average number of people working in the office full time will decrease from 70% prior to the pandemic to 43% over the next 12-18 months. Notably, they predict only about a quarter of the workforce (26%) will telework full-time/most of the time.
- 78% of respondents recognize the necessity of the office, saying in-person workplaces are “vital” to operating their businesses (up 4% since the prior Q4 2020 study). This increase is unsurprising as respondents also shared that maintaining corporate culture and connectivity in a remote-only world was the top challenge they faced as a result of the pandemic.
- Fewer tenants will reassess their space needs. At 56%, the number of respondents reporting a planned reassessment of space needs has dropped five points since the prior study. And, of those considering a reassessment, the number planning to reduce space has fallen from 43% to 37%. However, “unsure” responses ticked up to 23% (up from 19%).
- COVID-19 vaccinations are driving and shaping re-entry discussions. Nearly 8-in-10 respondents say they are personally comfortable receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, but only 67% say their colleagues are comfortable receiving the vaccine.
- 86% approve of their landlord’s response to COVID-19. This is up 8% from Q4 2020, demonstrating that commercial property owners and operators are delivering strong value to tenants in actively responding to the pandemic.
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