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Two-thirds of real estate professionals expect property footprint to shrink

CoreNet Global, which represents 11,000 executives in 50 countries, has revealed the results of a survey of corporate real estate professionals, showing a belief that remote work and virtual meetings will last beyond the coronavirus crisis, and the overall corporate footprint will shrink as a result.

CoreNet Global conducted the survey of its 11,000 members in April to gauge the evolving corporate real estate response to the coronavirus challenge, and to identify practical steps members can take to support their companies’ effort to ensure employee safety and business continuity.

The survey was an update to previous surveys sent to the worldwide membership in March.

According to CoreNet, longer term adoption of remote and virtual working practices were reported in greater numbers:

  • 94% of end users thought expanded use of remote working would last beyond the current crisis, up from 89% in the previous survey
  • 94% of end users think expanded use of virtual meetings, versus face-to-face meetings, will last beyond the current crisis, maintained from the previous survey
  • 69% of end users surveyed said their company’s real estate footprint will shrink as a result of increased work from home, up from 51% in the previous survey
  • 70% of respondents said real estate projects have been put on hold, up from 67% in the previous survey

However, these trends are not without their challenges, which were identified by the respondents:

  • Being unable to have the kind of collaboration that occurs when everyone is together in the same room
  • Developing a long-term workplace strategy and remote working strategy
  • Figuring out the framework and details of a return-to-office plan
  • Extra time required to manage at a distance, with frequent check-ins to check on emotional toll
  • Mental health of employees
  • Accessing adequate supplies of hand sanitiser and masks

While 19% of end user respondents reported their companies had experienced lay-offs due to Covid-19, nearly double the figure in the previous survey, CoreNet said there were signs in the survey corporate real estate professionals were becoming more optimistic.

Survey respondents’ short-term economic outlook was less bullish than their longer-term outlook, but was still more optimistic than during the previous survey.

When asked whether they were “more or less” optimistic about the economic future over the next three months, the average rating on a 1-5 scale was 2.5 for both end users and service providers. In the previous survey, the average rating was 2.3.

When that time frame was expanded to six months, the service provider rating jumped to 3.13, up from 3.0 in the previous survey, while the end user rating 2.95 remained essentially unchanged from the previous survey result of 3.0.

CoreNet Global is a non-profit association, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with strategic responsibility for the real estate assets of large corporations.

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