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Two-Thirds Of CRE Firms To Be 'Completely Or Partially Virtual' Going Forward

Remote work would most acutely impact property operations and reporting positions.

A majority of commercial real estate employees expect to be working “completely or partially virtually going forward,” according to a new survey and report released by Deloitte. 

The firm’s 2022 Commercial Real Estate Outlook highlighted the many ways that the coronavirus pandemic has changed the outlook of employees in the industry, and in turn, how many employers aren’t responding fast enough to these shifts, especially during a war for talent. 

The survey, answered by more than 400 senior executives at large commercial real estate firms, found that two-thirds of respondents expect their companies to be partially or completely remote in the future, which would most acutely impact property operations and reporting positions.

The CRE executives also said they want more purpose-driven work environments, to focus more resources on ESG goals and increasingly expect their workplaces to allow more flexibility around remote working and benefits.

In many cases, survey respondents didn’t feel that firms were responding to these new employee desires: When asked if their companies were engaged in educating workers or if their firms shared their sense of purpose, less than half of respondents agreed or strongly agreed.

The report also pointed out shortcomings on the diversity and inclusion front, especially around salary and new hires — more than half of the respondents said their firms could do more on DEI. More attention needs to be placed on recruiting a diverse class of new talent, Deloitte's researchers wrote, and broker salaries need to be adjusted to help those from less affluent backgrounds find success in entry-level positions.