2021 U.S. Office Investment Outlook
Commercial Real Estate 2021: Adapting to the New Normal;
Trends, Insights and Outlook for Office Investors
Coronavirus drives office sector transformation. The significant pandemic-driven changes to the office sector last year will carry into 2021 and beyond as companies adopt innovative new operations models. Buildings, particularly in the urban core, emptied last year as companies downsized and shifted their staff to working from home. To meet health and safety standards, facility operators quickly enhanced their cleaning procedures, upgraded HVAC systems, erected plexiglass barriers, closed shared spaces and added other physical-distancing measures to keep workers safe. But the biggest question office investors face is whether companies will bring their workforce back to the office, and if they do, when that will be. Companies have become increasingly nimble, adding sophisticated remote-work capabilities, and many have suggested that staff will have the option to work remotely for an extended period. This has allowed workers to migrate from downtown housing to larger, lower-cost options in the suburbs and to smaller cities across the country, begging the question of how long it will take for the urban core, particularly in gateway cities, to recover.