Will we get back to Monday to Friday, 9 to 5? CRE pros weigh in on office footprint, home office allocations, hiring remote employees, site selection

by Brianna Crandall — November 23, 2020 — In CoreNet Global’s recent tracking survey of corporate real estate professionals on the effects of the pandemic, 50% of the respondents say that it will be at least until June 2021 when more than 50% of workers return onsite. Almost one in five (17%) say that it will be later than June 2021.

And when workers do return, the office is likely to be a place for collaboration and teamwork, rather than individual work, say 86% of the respondents.

When asked “Is the 9-5, Monday-Friday work pattern with a commute a thing of the past?” some 64% of respondents answered “Yes,” up from 58% in the previous survey. Just over a third (36%) of respondents answered “No,” down from 42% in the previous survey.

Survey respondents reported that, moving forward, their company’s employees will spend about 50% of their time in a traditional office, 42% of their time in a home-based office or other remote location, and 7% of their time in a co-working space.

Just under half (46%) of survey respondents report that their company’s use of co-working spaces will remain the same following the COVID-19 crisis, while 28% anticipate a decrease and 26% anticipate an increase.

Over time, the average corporate real estate footprint will decrease, but slightly

A full 70% of survey respondents think their corporate real estate footprint will shrink over the next two years; 16% expect no change in the footprint during the next two years, while 14% forecast an increase.

However, of those, 23% say that it will be a decrease of 10% or less, 27% say that it will be a decrease of 10 to 30%, and 20% say that it will be a decrease of greater than 30%.

In other findings:

  • Home office setup: More than a third (34%) of survey respondents are not providing a per-employee financial allowance for home office setup (e.g., technology, furniture). 17% of respondents are providing between $100 and $250, while 17% are providing between $250 and $500. 7% of respondents’ per-employee allocation is less than $100, and 5% are providing more than $500. Almost one-fifth (19%) are providing assistance on an as-needed basis.
  • Hiring off-site workers: A full 62% of survey respondents report that they would now consider hiring full-time employees without consideration of location (e.g., under the assumption that they would be able to work remotely 100% of the time), down from 69% in the previous survey. 38% indicated that they would not consider hiring full-time employees on that basis, up from 31% in the previous survey.
  • City-center locations: 71% of survey respondents reported that their company will not shy away from city-center locations in densely packed urban areas that require the use of public transport (unchanged from the previous survey). 29% of respondents indicated that their company would shy away from such locations in the future (unchanged from the previous survey).
  • Pandemic-ready site selection: When asked “Will pandemic readiness on the part of cities and localities become more of a factor in your company’s site-selection plans?” 66% of respondents said “Yes,” up from 50% in the previous survey, and 34% said “No,” down from 50% in the previous survey.
  • On-shoring manufacturing : 67% of respondents think the COVID-19 crisis will lead to more on-shoring or re-shoring of manufacturing, up from 44% in the previous survey.

From September 9 to 29, CoreNet Global conducted a survey of its worldwide membership to gain insight on how the ongoing COVID-19 crisis is impacting corporate real estate management. One hundred two members responded to the survey, which was an update to the previous survey conducted between 27 May and 16 June.

CoreNet Global is a nonprofit association headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, representing more than 11,000 executives in 50 countries with strategic responsibility for the real estate assets of large corporations.