I am quite sure that all of those in the commercial real estate business are well aware of the devastation that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused to many segments of our economy, especially the values of the commercial office sector in New York City as well as most major metropolitan locations. Prices have tumbled and there are those who are and have been bailing out of ownership of those types of investments.
The pandemic was and is the major factor contributing to the 35% of U.S. workers whose jobs can be performed remotely and are now currently working at home. Some have gone back to work part time, one, two or more days per week as requested by various companies, and a few others, like Elon Musk at Tesla, that have demanded that everyone come back to work or get fired or laid off.
Statista, which takes surveys and compiles crucial information about the workforce here and around the globe on work habits, preferences, and opinions about work, did a survey on April 24 and I quote:
“Working remotely has been an emerging trend in recent years. Between 2017 and 2018, there were about 34.7 million full-time workers who had the option to work from home. Of these people, nearly 24 percent reported working from home due to personal preference. In 2019, 73 percent of people working from home said that the flexibility of working remotely had positively impacted their personal well-being and improved their ability to balance work with leisure and community activities.
Additionally, more than 70% of people working remotely saw improvement in their mental health. In some cases, workers reported experiencing more distractions when working at home. However, many found a remote work environment to be more conducive to productivity, and saw improvement in their job performance; a factor that has made remote work appealing to employers.
In the second quarter of 2020, 70% worked remotely, due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. In the second quarter of 2021, 48% worked remotely. In the fourth quarter of 2022, it was down to 24%.” Here is a link with more information about the study: Statista hybrid work
According to a recent survey completed by Randstad, a provider of human resources services, 61% of those surveyed would not accept a position that they felt would adversely affect their work-life balance. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco also did a study in September 2022 called “Remote Work and Housing Demand.” They found that 30% of work across the U.S. was still being done at home in August 2022, especially in cities with an abundant amount of tech jobs. According to the study, the shift to home-based work accounted for 60% of the U.S. home price increases during the Pandemic.
So it was obvious that many did go back to their offices and probably enjoyed seeing their fellow workers once again, assisting in making them feel more stable and mentally cognizant and happier with their old familiar surroundings. However, the number of hybrid workers in the second quarter of 2020 was 18%, as so many had established that as a more permanent work environment. In the second quarter of 2021, it rose to 31%, mainly due to the pandemic, and by 2023, 53% participated in hybrid work.
So many became comfortable with being able to work at home and at the same time go to their offices. I believe this created a truly positive work-life balanced environment. Working and having to go to an office has drastically changed and will never be the same as the Covid-19 pandemic had totally changed the dynamics and attitude of the normal job and its previous requirements.
My belief is that the mental health and stability of those who either work from home full time or have a hybrid schedule is and will be far more beneficial for the majority. The connection and closeness to one’s family will greatly enhance relationships and create more free time, instead of countless hours of travel time, especially for those who are farther away from their jobs. The saved time will be better spent in more productive ways whether working or spending time with significant others and family.
However, on the negative side, public transportation has suffered greatly with the severe lack of ridership due to the increased hybrid working habitat. How will the MTA and local transportation survive without income? As the largest rapid transit system and infrastructure in the world, increased taxes and fares will be required and a necessity to enable it to survive and hopefully thrive, unless a better form of transportation will come about, which is always possible. Greater emphasis on efficiency and technology, watching excessive cost overruns, more strict oversight in those taking advantage of overtime and better scheduling will surely greatly improve the operation.
For many who are planning to start a business or who currently work remotely, purchasing a home with that additional space has become tantamount, crucial and pretty much mandatory. Homes with that additional space have become more valuable as workplace flexibility becomes most important. For those who were spending hundreds of dollars a month on transportation and food, that has enabled working from home to be a huge cost savings.
This has greatly assisted some to spend a bit more on a home to acquire that additional and necessary space for their job and/or business. Also, small workspaces have become extremely popular and some of the largest co-working type companies offering downsized spaces are global leader, Regus, under their IWG umbrella, a group of hybrid-working brands, including, HQ Global Workplaces
I believe this new way to work is the replacement of the four-day work week, which has been discussed and written about for years, but somehow, never really took hold until the pandemic. So this is our new hybrid flexible work week that will most likely be the future for many in the workforce and create a happier and more productive work environment.
Philip A. Raices is the owner/Broker of Turn Key Real Estate at 3 Grace Ave Suite 180 in Great Neck. He has 42 years of experience in the Real Estate industry and has earned designations as a Graduate of the Realtor Institute (G.R.I.) and also as a Certified International Property Specialist (C.I.P.S) as well as the new “Green Industry” Certification for eco-friendly construction and upgrades. For a “FREE” 15-minute consultation, value analysis of your home, or to answer any of your questions or concerns he can be reached by cell: (516) 647-4289 or by email: [email protected] or via https://WWW.Li-RealEstate.Com