Renters’ Return to the Office Supports Rental Demand

More workers want to return to the office than you might think

The way we work impacts the way we live, and multifamily property owners who pay attention to residents’ work life needs may have an edge. As some people return to the office and others continue a remote schedule, renters will have varying needs. 

Many workers want to be in the office

With so much focus on remote work and hybrid schedules over the past 19 months, you might assume that everyone wants to stay online. However, an August survey from the Harris Poll showed that more than a third of respondents want to be back in the office full time. Participants in that poll reported that their ideal number of days in the office would be:

  • 5 days – 37 percent
  • 4 days – 13 percent
  • 3 days – 21 percent
  • 2 days – 12 percent
  • 1 day – 5 percent
  • 0 days – 11 percent 

That’s 71 percent who want to be in the office at least half time. Now consider how many of those people rent vs. own a home and the attractiveness of living close to work. We don’t know how the return-to-work numbers will actually shake out, but some cities have already seen the impact. In Houston, for example: 

“Things are looking up in Houston, and that rings especially true for the city’s growing multifamily sector. In-migration, a rebounding labor market and a high concentration of Fortune 500 firms and talent have made the Bayou City an attractive place for investors and residents alike.” 

Factors that have always drawn renters to core business areas, such as Houston, will continue to play a role in where people choose to live. Transportation, proximity to work, nearby entertainment and dining, and a thriving social scene have not lost their lustre. 

What about the remote workers?

Employers and employees may settle on a compromise arrangement that requires at least a part-time presence in the office for some roles, which means that home remains a second office. That means multifamily needs to continue to accommodate and plan for their residents’ space, connectivity and privacy needs related to remote work. 

This Forbes real estate contributor counsels property developers and managers to take a long view of the remote vs. in-office conversation: 

“For now, we advocate caution. The most likely scenario is that a hybrid office/remote arrangement will become the new normal. So, it may not be necessary to completely reconfigure apartment buildings and common area layouts, but we do think it makes sense to take a pragmatic view toward low-cost, high-return perks that will make it easier and more comfortable for those residents who work from home.”

In other words, don’t place all eggs in one basket, but embrace residents’ new normal and need for balance between work and living. 

Creating balance for multifamily residents

To strike a balance in your community, consider concierge and service changes in addition to amenity and space needs. 

Propmodo reported on some of the changes and redesigns undertaken this year by some of the largest names in the multifamily space, including: 

  • Unit redesign to allow for more dedicated work space 
  • Coworking space in place of entertainment areas 
  • Adding private work booths and nooks to common areas
  • Addressing material needs, such as lighting and acoustics, to support virtual meetings

In addition, we recommend considering: 

  • Connectivity throughout the property 
  • Community spaces that allow for work breaks and relaxation 
  • Green areas that support stress reduction 
  • Concierge services to address deliveries, pet needs and more 

As always, because we are a branding and design firm, we remind you to consider how each change can support and grow your brand. Who do you want to be for your residents, and how are you communicating that value to them? Will they know at a glance that you will help make their lives easier, more comfortable and less stressful? Will they feel the sense of luxury and pampering you provide? 

Need help telling a work-life story for renter audiences? Reach out to us. We specialize in multifamily branding and marketing that speaks to residents’ core lifestyle needs.

Posted By

Sara Bess