Commercial real estate is hurting, and you can look at Keen to see how much of a problem it is. Even our office is quiet. While a few of us might stop by throughout the day to take care of some housekeeping, retrieve notes or tools, or maybe just to water the plants, Keen HQ is now scattered across the state and the country working to save the planet.
That quiet, echoing empty space isn’t unique. Office buildings all over the world as sitting empty, and for commercial real estate agents, the phone line has been equally dormant. Companies of all sizes have chosen to invest in remote work during the pandemic, and more of those companies are looking to move to remote work long term. Companies like Twitter, Google, and Microsoft have offered and even incentivized their workforces to stay home and work wherever they can, even if that happens to be on the other side of the country. Commercial real estate is in a free fall as a result.
So, how can real estate brokers bring workers back? Give them peace of mind.
To revive the market, the spaces that bring people together need to be safe enough to bring people together. That doesn’t just mean dividing up the trendy open workspace concept that workers have quietly hated for over a decade. It’s going to mean investing in creating distinct rooms, barriers, and reshaping the look and feel of office buildings to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, but also other diseases that put a dent into productivity even in a normal flu season.
But the reality is that the real answer is much smaller. So small, in fact, that the answer to fighting the virus is to directly address the virus, not just how it’s getting around. It may have taken months, but commercial realtors are finally getting the idea. In Dallas, for example, landlords are scrambling to implement the best HVAC filters and ventilation systems, plus integrating needlepoint bipolar ionization to kill over 99% of airborne viruses. Health and safety has become a sales pitch for real estate agents in addition to being a sign of concern and respect companies have for their workers.
At some point, federal and state governments will have to introduce more loans to support businesses across the country. One vital part of that relief legislation should include grants for facilities and property owners to improve the health of employees so that we can get back to work. Vaccines might be coming, but for tens of thousands of businesses, those vaccines will be too late.
We’re here to help. If you’re looking to bring back tenants to your building or workers to your office space, let’s talk.