by Marilyn Pearson-Adams
Remote work is likely going to continue in some form, but that does not mean people never want to head into an office again. Investors are betting on a post-pandemic surge in interest in workspaces located in suburban neighborhoods. To get ahead of what they foresee as a trend, they are eyeing suburban residences and empty retail, with the thought of turning them into smaller office spaces that can be rented out.
Some startups and property management owners are offering flexible office spaces in the suburbs for remote workers who need a break from working from home. They are offering furnished office space that can be booked by the day or longer. Some are turning retail spaces into furnished offices that can be rented out. These new models are not trying to replace corporate headquarters, but rather to create a network of smaller offices that allow workers a hybrid approach to work and home life balance.
“A proliferation of new suburban office spaces could help fill empty retail space,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “They could also further blur the distinction between residential and commercial neighborhoods and help remake metropolitan areas.”
Many cities were built around central business districts. Urban planners say cities could undergo a transformation as an increased number of smaller offices open in the suburbs and lower the commute times for workers.
However, analysts predict that many companies will not completely shy away from brick-and-mortar even if remote work grows more commonplace permanently. The physical presence of an office, big or small, still helps to maintain visibility in the community and serves a place for staff members to meet and collaborate with each other or with clients.
Demand for flexible office space nationwide grew by 21% in the second half of 2020, according to a report by The Instant Group. Rethinking workspaces, together with the actual amount of real estate needed to function is something many business owners are currently assessing carefully.
We have found ourselves over this past year redefining our workspaces, our home spaces, and struggling at times to find balance in separating our work time from our family time when overnight it all had to take place in the same space. It now appears the progression of remote working will soon experience wider offerings of flexible, affordable, creative office spaces close to home. Hopefully, giving you the opportunity to put balance, and when needed, healthy separation between work and home.
Sources: National Association of Realtors
“Suburban Homes and Retail Are the Budding New Office Hotspot” The Wall Street Journal (May 4, 2021)