Before COVID-19, offices and shared coworking space were doing very well across most markets. However, with the movement to stay at home, many offices were empty by the middle of 2020. And, many office space are still on the market after many months. But, does this mean it's the end of office space forever? Thankfully, according to some studies, it's not. So, in this blog post, we discuss the possibilities for office space in the future.
Many people are concerned about the future of office space. This is for a great reason considering vacancies continue to rise each quarter since COVID-19 came to the US. However, just like with most commercial real estate properties, investors can see success with their space. It may take some strategy and creativity, but it can certainly be done.
According to the Department of Labor Statistics, there are many industries that report not being able to work from home. Not to mention, for the industries that can work from home, a portion of the employees still report to the DLS that they cannot. So, even during and after the pandemic, many employees will need to come into the office to work. Below, you will find the primary industries that report they must go into the office to fulfill their job role. This information can help you choose which city to invest in, depending on if these industries are prevalent there.
As you know, construction must be done in person. However, construction workers rarely come into the office to do their job duties since they must be on the worksite. This is why many investors brush off the idea of buying office space in an area near construction companies. But, construction managers do need an office to do their work.
For the most part, the managers and executives of a construction company need offices to do their jobs. In the same vein, those in the architecture field need offices as well. This is due to the software and technology they need to do their jobs. For this industry, upper-level employees need special equipment and tools to come up with blueprints. They also need meeting rooms to collaborate and plan their team's work. By being remote, many mistakes can be made in the planning process, so it's vital these meetings happen in person. Any mistake can cost the construction company thousands of dollars. So, this means this industry typically requires office space.
Engineering is another industry that requires its employees to work in the office. Just like construction and architecture, engineers require specialized equipment and software at their desks. There are many different subindustries for engineering, and many require engineers to sit at their desks planning, designing and strategizing. The software and tools needed for many engineers to do their jobs often cannot be brought home, which makes it impossible for them to work from home. So, for areas with many engineering firms, it's a great idea to invest in an office space.
Many sales offices are open for their employees. These businesses are usually niche-specific such as electronics, paper products and even furniture. No matter what they sell, some employees have noticed how difficult it is to sell products to people over the phone or Zoom. At the end of the day, it's very difficult to sell a product when someone can't see it or feel it for themselves. Despite the boom in online shopping, there are many things people prefer to purchase in person. So, sales offices often need to meet in person.
As you have likely heard, remote work is going very well for many businesses. According to one study, multiple industries are far more productive when they work from home. However, some companies will let their employees come back to the office environment once the pandemic is over. In fact, multiple large companies will let their employees choose whether or not they would like to be remote. For example, companies like Twitter, Airbnb and Qualtrics are all giving their employees options to work from the office once they can open their offices again. About 40% of employees report they are willing to come to the office a few days per week in the future. So, office space will still be in demand, even if remote working is instituted.
An option for investors is to purchase a larger business park, and lease out the space to multiple companies. Many organizations will likely want to downsize their office space as employees choose to work remotely a portion of the workweek. Because business parks are designed to house multiple businesses, it is much less expensive to lease them. So, there is a high chance businesses will move to business parks to save money, a crucial effort in today's economy.
However, do keep in mind that business parks are not authorized to reopen in many states (as of November 2020). So, this may affect the rate in which businesses lease out your business park. But, once your state has approved people to work at their offices, it is a good time to invest in a business park. Utah is one of the states that is allowing people to occupy office space, as long as they follow safety procedures. Our commercial real estate brokerage helps investors in the Salt Lake City, Utah area, and we can help you find a great office space to invest in. Contact us today to get started!