What a post-pandemic return to office spaces will look like for commercial real estate entrepreneurs

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Almost all industries have changed in one way or another during the Covid-19 pandemic – and commercial real estate (CRE) was no exception. While many industries have seen things return to normal as the pandemic has progressed, CRE will likely be changed forever.

While some people have speculated that the traditional office will never come back, most experts predict that offices are not going anywhere.

1. Hybrid offices are here to stay

If you ask most people how they enjoyed working remotely during the pandemic, they’ll likely tell you there were pros and cons. This has allowed employees to avoid commuting, take more working vacations and spend more time with their families.

At the same time, many employees felt isolated or distracted at home. Hybrid office spaces will become the new normal, allowing people to experience the best of both worlds.

A recent WeWork Study found that about half of employees prefer to work in the office between 1 and 4 days per week. As employers develop long-term plans for their offices, they will likely keep employee preferences in mind.

Since employers have hybrid workspaces in mind, CRE entrepreneurs should be aware of the different look of a hybrid workspace. As a CRE investor, you want to attract the best tenants to make the most of your investment.

In a hybrid workspace, the whole team does not need to be present at the same time. Many employers can take advantage of smaller offices to save money on rent. This could be advantageous for new CRE entrepreneurs hoping to break into the market with smaller investments. In the future, you will likely find more companies interested in a smaller space, which will give you a better chance of getting a return on your investment quickly.

Related: Prepare your team for the hybrid office

2. More open floor plans

Towards the end of the 20th century, open plan office spaces became the hugely popular office trend. In the early 2000s, it became difficult to find young companies working without an open floor plan.

However, Covid-19 has highlighted the issues with the open office. The absence of barriers between colleagues created a perfect opportunity for the spread of the disease. As businesses return to the office, employers will prefer office spaces that minimize the spread of any type of disease.

Not only does the open floor plan allow the spread of viruses, it also creates a more distracting environment. Before the pandemic, the open floor plan was starting to lose popularity because it’s hard to focus on your work when your coworker is on the phone right next to you. During the pandemic, many employees adapted to be able to control their workspace while working remotely. When workers return to the office, they will want spaces with some privacy.

To maximize the cash flow of a CRE investment, it is important to create an office space where workers have a sense of control over their environment. This allows them to feel focused and free from illness. In a post-pandemic world, open floor plans are unlikely to give workers that sense of control.

3. Offer flexible rental options

CRE entrepreneurs must be prepared to be creative in their investments in an ever-changing commercial real estate world. While the need for office space is always present, many people may be looking for flexible options.

Many companies may want flexible rental options, as they want the ability to change locations and be more flexible with working remotely during certain times of the year. Many remote workers may be looking for coworking spaces.

Look for opportunities to meet changing office space needs. Allowing flexible leasing can create an opportunity for you to change course with your own investment as times change. The best entrepreneurs are often the most flexible entrepreneurs.

Related: How coworking brings fortune to startups and businesses

4. Create a place of intentional collaboration (and connection)

When the business world primarily moved online at the onset of the pandemic, many companies realized they didn’t have to work in an office to run the business successfully. Because it turned out that the office wasn’t entirely necessary, the office space of the future has to be a place people want to be.

A 2012 HBR Study followed the behavior in the office of several different teams. They found the top performing teams often casually socialized in break areas. Team members also walked around the office often, chatting with various team members.

The study showed that performance can improve when employees have a good workspace to socialize. While open offices have proven to be fun, there must be staging areas for group collaboration in each office. There should also be places for team members to socialize in their free time. It’s these types of spaces that make employees love being in an office.

A successful CRE entrepreneur must know how to create office spaces that make employees want to be there in person. If you create an environment that inspires creativity, collaboration, and innovation, you’ll quickly attract high-quality tenants and create a great return on your investment.

Related: Real Estate Investing Is About To Get A Gen Z Makeover