The shift in how we work since the pandemic hit has been truly remarkable, and its effects on real estate have been unmistakable. Office buildings sit unused, and people are still lining up for residential properties that boast more space for a home office (despite rising interest rates). However, how this will play out exactly in the future is unclear.
After all, working from home for two years is very different than working from home for a decade or more. Joe Fairless, the host of The Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever, talks more about the long-term real estate market and what you should know about changing workplace policies.
What’s Lost in Remote Work
Companies largely continued paying their leases during the pandemic, perhaps hoping that the shutdown would only last for a few weeks or so. Others may have downgraded their space as they witnessed just how productive people could be even when they were at home. Joe Fairless says that the decision to keep offices rather than abandon them altogether is a sign. No matter how much the public embraces remote work, it may not have a dire effect on commercial real estate.
There’s a fundamental disconnect when it comes to the offices of yesterday versus the offices of today. When workers think about their position, they may think about how nice it is to dress casually and skip traffic. What they aren’t considering is how much is lost in remote work. Again, coming together in a crisis is not the same thing as having to build lasting relationships without the benefit of being in the same room. From body language to handshakes, loyalty is the result of real bonds, and those aren’t easy to build if you’re trying to talk to someone in a different time zone distracted by several other tabs.
Joe Fairless on Real Estate and Hybrid Work
Real estate is as much about human behavior and psychology as it is about location and design. Joe Fairless believes that change is inevitable when it comes to commercial real estate but that counting out commercial space altogether would be foolish. As with every investment, the details are driven by everything from where you are to how people around the property perceive the environment.
The key is to learn those nuances and then work with people based on their preferences. For instance, will company owners want to lease half the space they were leasing before, thanks to a new hybrid work policy? Will they only expect people in the office every other day? If you’re investing in residential real estate, what kind of amenities can you highlight that would be great for someone who works from home two days per week? There are opportunities on both sides of the aisle, and it will pay to keep track of the trends moment-to-moment basis. Fairless shares his views on his podcast, so his listeners can make smarter decisions about where and what to invest in.