Every industry in the country, and the world for that matter, has suffered and survived on the shifting sands of the COVID pandemic. Daily numbers of deaths and hospitalizations kept most workers at home and offices empty. Now, thankfully, as the virus is receding, trends, lessons, and the path forward is beginning to be exposed.
One of the most obvious is the in-office vs. work from home hybrid. It appears that more senior employees yearn for the face-to-face conversations, meetings, and general societal aspects of being in the office. Conversely, younger employees liked the idea of commuting from the bedroom to their computer. They adjusted and became comfortable in their surroundings. The draw of the office environment was not high on their list of must haves. Long commutes are a thing of the past. A trip passed your local railroad station reveals parking lots, previously overflowing, now half empty or even less. It will be some time before the pull and push works itself out.
A new mindset is emerging regarding real estate footprints. As leases come up for renewal, many offices will reduce the square footage they need. The real estate market will need to adjust to the reduced demand. In-person types of business—manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution commercial property—will likely escape much upheaval.
The advance of technology was a life saver to many companies, providing access the programs, apps, and systems to facilitate working remotely. It was one of the more impressive responses to the stay home edicts. It just proves the adaptive nature of businesses. Obviously, some of the larger organizations already had systems in place, but even they had to create processes that would preserve the customer service/client centric services without diminishment. Many other companies had to play catch up with issuing laptops, establishing networks that functioned remotely, learn Zoom, put files in the cloud, etc., but they got it done