Recently, we released our commercial real estate outlook for the upcoming year, The State of TeX in 2021. With all the changes that the global health pandemic has brought to the CRE and proptech industries in 2020, a few emerging commercial real estate trends have stood out from the rest.
We recently sat down with several subject matter experts in the industry, as well as surveyed nearly 300 HqO tenants, to determine what’s been on their minds as they prepare for the new year. Despite the anticipation of a vaccine, many topics of conversation still arose surrounding the current health and safety regulations for the workplace. Even after the pandemic subsides, these trends will generate value for a tenant population that has already adjusted to more diversified workplace experiences.
Here are three of the most common themes that emerged from those conversations:
Tenants and their employees placed a heavy emphasis on the importance of communication for their return to workplace strategies, as well as the need for more content within their tenant engagement apps that support this. According to our tenant survey, direct landlord-tenant informative pieces of content stood out as being the most useful “feature” of our Tenant Experience Platform.
Additionally, JLL reports that COVID-19 has driven employees to rethink their priorities in terms of quality of life, human interaction, and personal values. Companies that strengthen connections and provide communications to establish a clear purpose for the workplace will be well-positioned to retain and attract talent.
More Touchless Experiences
Last year, we predicted the rise of IoT and touchless technologies for the office. This year, we can verify that tenants are still looking for these capabilities due to new health and safety protocols. Though 31.5% of tenant respondents expressed that they were comfortable with returning to the office and attending in-person events, nearly half (46.9%) stated that they would only be comfortable attending outdoor events.
These concerns are directly tied to a fear of the unknown: people are still questioning their comfort and safety in the aftermath of a pandemic. A large part of the solution for this issue is adapting your portfolio to accommodate additional, tech-enabled features that will allow them to steer clear of congested areas and communal surfaces, while also creating frictionless experiences that make the workplace easy and enjoyable.
Flex Space and a Campus Feel
According to data collected by the CBRE Research Client Survey in June of 2020, 70% of respondents claimed that more flexible work is expected, but 42% still suggested that the importance of the physical office will only decrease slightly.
This has led tenant companies to explore new, creative office space models that afford employees the ability to choose where and when they work based on personal preferences. An example of this includes hub-and-spoke models, where companies add work-near-home and central head office spaces in the suburbs to supplement their downtown presence, thus resolving concerns around potentially risky commutes and work-life balances.
This topic of conversation has also come up with HqO customers, who are looking for more ways to offer flexibility to tenants while also establishing a campus-like feel through offering shared amenities and office space across their assets.
Looking for more information on the future of commercial real estate and commercial real estate trends? Check out the latest commercial real estate news in our industry outlook, The State of TeX in 2021.