The pandemic produced a number of fascinating phenomena including the surge in demand for homes and housing related goods, an explosion in stock trading by individual investors, the rise of meme stocks, the “Great Resignation,” and shortages of many types of goods. Perhaps most interesting has been the rise in “work from home” which leads to the important question of whether and when employees will return to the office.
The following chart summarizes a survey completed in July covering thirteen countries and thirteen business sectors. Average attendance is just 26% with a peak in the middle of each week of approximately 33%.
With technology sector attendance at just 15%, Apple last week announced a policy requiring in-person work three days a week beginning on September 5th. Not surprisingly, a group of employees today launched a petition challenging the order. Many other companies are struggling with the question of whether to introduce more stringent attendance policies, perhaps at the risk of losing employees during a period in which the competition for talent is so intense. Needless to say, the outcome of the “return to work” question has huge implications for commercial real estate, businesses that depend on office traffic, domestic migration trends, and even the viability and appeal of major urban areas.