What a difference one year makes! We as a nation were still reeling from the unexpected personal losses and derailment of the economy brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, with vaccines widely available and hopefully most Americans out of harm’s way, we are on course to resume the upward trajectory of growth we enjoyed in 2019. And business is responding.
In the Spring, Verity asked its readers how they were navigating the early stage of business recovery. Certainly, as business owners ourselves, we have learned a lot from the depths of the pandemic and the return to work. We thought it important to share some of those lessons– along with the insights of some of our readers–with you now.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article: “The US economic recovery is unlike any in recent history, powered by consumers with trillions in extra savings, businesses eager to hire and enormous policy support.”
But what is particularly optimistic, especially from the sense of business growth, is the WSJ’s observation that, “New businesses are popping up at the fastest pace on record.” And it is clear also that businesses old and new are redefining the work process.
Ironically, many of the drivers of this upsurge were born–or accelerated–in the depths of last year’s recession. For example, many companies that formerly had strict butts-in-chairs strategies are pivoting to more flexible work-from-home (WFH) options, having discovered that absent employees can still be productive.
As one Verity blog reader stated, they plan to continue to WFH as much as possible and come in only as necessary. However, the reader added, less experienced workers benefit most from coming into the office so they can receive support and training. Therefore, the office environment will remain a critical component in the future.
We’ve discovered that, even with more WFH options in place, the office still matters, as Verity pointed out in its recent blog, “Office Environments Take on New Relevance for Corporate Occupiers Post-COVID.”
Of course, none of this is to say that there are no issues in the marketplace, and this early in what we all hope will be a long-term upcycle, caution is still evident. One Verity reader, for instance, revealed that they will most likely continue to pay reduced rent until profitability is restored.
Indeed, questions such as this remain:
In these early months of recovery, only time will provide the answers. As confidence continues to build, however, so does our collective belief that those answers will come.
Temporary caution aside, there was another positive development that arose from the horrors of last year. Technology, an already growing industry, got a major boost in 2020, as the need for reliance on information creation, storage, sharing and delivery rose to an all-time high. The need for advanced information technology systems for effective communication and collaboration will only continue to grow across all industries. And the commercial real estate industry–office, industrial, multifamily, hospitality and retail–is no exception. Long considered a laggard in terms of tech adoption, it seems at last to have come of age.
Marketplace intel from Verity bears this out, as typified by one reader, who reveals that tech is more important than ever. They go on to say their telecom and IT spend has grown as a result, as has IT security.
Advancement is often the result of crisis, reflecting the old saw about pains and gains. As an industry and as a nation, we are witnessing the start of a major recovery from the pain of COVID-19. Business creation and growth as we remember it prior to 2020 may not be the same going forward. In many ways, however, it will be better.
Contact a Verity advisor for a one-on-one consultation concerning your own business recovery and commercial real estate issues.
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