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Cushman & Wakefield Predicts Mass Return To Offices In Q1


A mass return to offices has been predicted several times, but Cushman & Wakefield is giving it another try.

The global commercial real estate services firm projects that the world's office workers will return to in-person work in the first quarter of 2022 as part of the first installment of a series of reports. The prediction is based on a series of assumptions, including that the delta variant will soon peak and that vaccination rates in the U.S. and abroad will continue to rise.

Multiple research groups have begun to predict that the coming winter won't be accompanied by another surge in coronavirus cases unless a new strain even more virulent than delta emerges. With students across the world largely returning to in-person schooling, thus easing the burden of childcare on parents, a sustained period of low case counts would likely give most workers the confidence to resume normal work patterns, C&W predicts.

Aiding the confidence in the rosy predictions is the projection within C&W's report that herd resilience, which factors in those who have already been infected with the coronavirus in addition to the vaccinated, will be achieved in the U.S., China and Europe before the end of the year. Whether through employer or state mandates, vaccination has so far been seen as a key indicator in making in-person work plans.

After the largely assumed Labor Day return to work fizzled, various stakeholders in the health of office real estate have been deflated and looking to the next time workers might return in major numbers. One element that could hasten that day, especially in urban cores, would be a recovery in the usage of public transit. Central business districts have suffered a disproportionate amount in comparison to the suburbs when it comes to office usage.