Survey by MRI and CoreNet Global reveals firmer remote working policies; increased technology adoption to manage the workplace
Solon, Ohio – November 8, 2021 – The latest research from MRI Software, a global leader in real estate solutions, shows that commercial occupiers’ willingness to allow all employees the choice to work remotely fell dramatically from 39% to 26% between March and September 2021. Seventy percent of survey respondents planned to institute policies that tighten up remote work eligibility and onsite requirements – up from 60% in March. The research also showed that landlords’ apprehension over the rise of remote working increased significantly over the same period, with 43% concerned about its impact on their business compared to just 26% in March.
In carrying out the research, MRI partnered with CoreNet Global, the leading association for corporate real estate professionals, to survey a group of close to 200 tenants and landlords from a range of industries globally.
The findings offer insights into post-pandemic views on the future of the office, with analysis contained in a full report entitled MRI Software Market Insights: Views from Real Estate Occupiers and Landlords on the Return to Office. The results show that, overall, nearly 80% of responding commercial occupiers have increased the availability of remote work. It also shows that 69% of respondents said that the worldwide shift to remote working during the pandemic has fundamentally changed their long-term approach to space usage – only slightly down from 71% in March.
“Many companies already made remote work available before the pandemic, but the mass shift to home working demonstrated to most businesses that staff and executive teams could continue to be productive outside of the office,” notes Brian Zrimsek, Industry Principal at MRI Software and author of the research report. “Pandemic-driven technology adoption simplified the process of staying connected and collaborative, but organisations still recognise the benefit of bringing employees back to the office and offering hybrid work arrangements that support engagement, workplace culture and productivity.”
Occupiers project fuller offices in the new year
The report shows that, as more employees are expected to return to the office, commercial occupiers’ views on the future of work continue to evolve. In fact, 57% of corporate tenants expect to have more than half of their workforce back in the office by the end of Q1 2022, while landlords were more optimistic, with 67% expecting the majority of workers to be back onsite by the end of Q4 2021. Other key findings that show some change in thinking in recent months include:
- 49% of commercial occupiers are converting or expanding their use of hot-desking, slightly down from 54% in March
- 42% of corporate tenants indicated that they would require less space after the pandemic, down from 56% in March
- At the same time, 61% of landlords expected their tenants to lease the same or more space despite the prospect of more remote working in the future, but this figure was also down from March (67%)
- By September, 74% of landlords were seeing tenants negotiating new lease terms (up from 58% in March), while nearly double said tenants were letting leases lapse (48% versus 26% in March)
New technologies for new circumstances
Both occupiers and landlords see a strong need to adopt technologies to handle changing requirements as the pandemic abates. The survey showed that 70% of corporate occupiers plan to adopt new technologies to manage changes in space usage. The proportion of landlords that thought their existing technologies were sufficient to manage changes in space usage dropped from 61% to 45% between the two 2021 surveys. The most recent results reveal that 61% of landlords expect to adopt new technologies to handle changing space needs, compared to 55% in the previous survey. The top functions named by landlords planning to adopt new technologies going forward included:
- Track and manage who is onsite (employees, visitors, contractors) – 63%
- Strategically manage long-term space utilisation and layout – 53%
- Schedule and reserve desks – 47%
- Better enable hybrid meetings between onsite and virtual attendees – 42%
- Reserve and manage meeting space – 21%
“Tenants and landlords have an opportunity to partner on ways to return to the office safely and effectively,” concludes Zrimsek. “With more employees returning to the workplace, it is clear that both commercial occupiers and landlords realise that PropTech tools will be essential to planning and maximising space usage, meeting the requirements of a hybrid office, keeping the workforce safe, and developing the best real estate strategies for the future.”
MRI will present Leveraging Technology for Strategic Workplace Decisions at the CoreNet Global Summit in Seattle on Tuesday, November 9. MRI and CoreNet will discuss the report findings in a webinar for CoreNet members on November 18, 2021.
About MRI Software
MRI Software is a leading provider of real estate software solutions that transform the way communities live, work and play. MRI’s comprehensive, flexible, open and connected platform empowers owners, operators and occupiers in commercial and residential property organisations to innovate in rapidly changing markets. MRI has been a trailblazer in the PropTech industry for over five decades, serving more than two million users worldwide. Through leading solutions and a rich partner ecosystem, MRI gives real estate companies the freedom to elevate their business and gain a competitive edge. For more information, please visit mrisoftware.com.
UK for MRI
Hugh Filman (+44 7905 044850)
or Zoe Mumba (+44 7725 832393)
US for MRI
ANZ for MRI
Heather Jones (+61 400 394 669)