PODCAST: Silverstein's Marty Burger, RXR's Scott Rechler On The Post-Labor Day Office Return
Bisnow's audio series, Bisnow Reports, examines every facet of the international commercial real estate industry — from the murky future of retail and office to real estate’s reckoning with diversity to the effects of climate change on the built world, and so much more. You can subscribe on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon Music, or scroll down to listen in your browser.
Now that Labor Day has passed and fall is around the corner, office cheerleaders predict we will actually see a shift in the American working environment — marked by a robust return of the nation’s office workers to their desks.
While proponents of in-person work say it is impossible to achieve the same productivity without a significant amount of office work, there is a groundswell of support for flexible working arrangements.
That coalition is apparently grating against a new narrative of bosses who will no longer give their workers a long leash when it comes to where and when they work.
“It's not a five-day workweek anymore … [but] people need to be in offices, people need this interaction,” Silverstein Properties CEO Marty Burger said on Bisnow’s podcast.
He said the company’s office portfolio is now seeing an increase in occupancy since Labor Day‚ and it will continue to increase.
“There’s definitely been an uptick. Usually, we've been in the high 40s to low 50s. And that those numbers are definitely upward now, I'd say mid to high 50s. And I expect those to rise. And what I had been predicting was that by the end of this year, we'll be in the 70s — probably close to 80%, you're never at 100%.”
Several companies, like Goldman Sachs and Apple, have moved to put formal return to work mandates in place. But according to Brian Kropp, the chief of research in the HR department at Gartner, just 25% of workers who have the capacity to work remotely are back in the office full time. The concept of forced returns, he said, is being driven by CEOs who are “overshooting the target” and pushing for greater returns than necessary.
“What we find is that when employees are never together, that their relationships do weaken, their culture does suffer. But the solution is not to be together all of the time,” he said.