The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically altered the way we work, accelerating the adoption of remote and hybrid work models. As corporations navigate the new normal, adopting flexible work policies has become a strategic priority. By 2025, 56% of companies aim to operationalize hybrid work to support agility and employee experience. This shift is transforming commercial real estate, requiring new spaces and technologies tailored to hybrid employees.
What is Hybrid Reality?
Hybrid reality refers to balancing physical and virtual work environments and giving employees flexibility in how, when, and where they work. Companies are adopting hybrid models where employees split time between the office and home. Therefore, businesses must align spaces, technology, and policies to optimize the employee experience in this blended reality.
Key Trends Reshaping Commercial Real Estate
The rise of hybrid work brings both challenges and opportunities for commercial real estate. Here are three key trends shaping the future of office space:
Rightsizing for the Hybrid Workforce
Many companies are reducing their real estate footprint by subleasing unused space to cut costs. Surveys indicate that over 80% of leaders plan to use less space in the long term. However, real estate can’t merely be downsized. As headcount shifts, portfolios must be strategically sized and reconfigured to balance remote collaboration, on-site community, and focused work.
Adapting the Office for Connection and Culture
When employees do come on-site, the office must engage them and strengthen its culture. Expect creative redesigns with more collaboration zones, hot desks, and amenities. Leading organizations are also designating "third spaces" at co-working spots, giving remote employees places to connect. Expect office layouts that inspire innovation and brand identity.
Investing in Tech for Hybrid Experiences
Seamless virtual collaboration will be crucial going forward. Companies are adopting platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams to connect distributed employees. Many are also creating "digital HQs" using immersive tech like AR and VR to improve remote experiences. Tech spending will focus on solutions that bridge the physical and digital worlds.
Key Considerations for Hybrid Spaces
As companies embrace hybrid reality, here are crucial strategies for the commercial real estate industry:
Conduct utilization studies to rightsize and reconfigure hybrid portfolios based on changing needs. Eliminate underutilized spaces.
Redesign on-site offices for flexibility, collaboration, and meaning. Places like cafes and lounges foster community and culture.
Evaluate opportunities for third spaces to support remote and hybrid workers. Look for spaces near employees that align with the brand and culture.
Implement tools and technology to connect on-site and remote employees seamlessly. Focus on intuitive, immersive solutions that enhance collaboration.
Develop intentional policies for hybrid work arrangements. Set clear expectations while supporting work-life balance and flexibility.
The hybrid workplace is here to stay. While this shift creates challenges, it also provides opportunities to create offices tailored to the modern workforce. With data-driven planning, adaptable spaces, and human-centric tech, the commercial real estate sector can unlock the potential of hybrid models and next-gen workplaces.
At GAIN CRE, our ESG-forward portfolio of properties is designed to empower the future of hybrid work. We focus on flexibility, sustainability, and human-centric spaces that seamlessly support on-site and remote employees. Our innovative properties showcase the latest in adaptable design, smart technology, and resilience to create optimal hybrid experiences. Get in touch at tad@GAINcre.com to learn more about our ESG-forward portfolio of properties.