Offices reopen but working from home remains widespread in Wilmington & suburbs

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A survey from The Wilmington Alliance and the commercial real estate firm of Newmark Knight Frank indicates that office tenants have no major short or long term plans to reduce their occupancy levels

The report did not that many office have started to re-enter their space.

However, 40 percent of those responding do not have a date set for even partial office re-boarding of permanent work-from-home employees.

The Wilmington Alliance is an organization working on development and redevelopment in the city.

Firms surveyed

  • Of 71 responding 40 were located in the city, 25 in the suburbs, and 6 had offices spanning both the city and suburbs (of those spanning both markets, most employees were in the suburbs).

Three-quarters of all city respondents are small occupiers – under 50 employees. Combined with responses from tenants with offices in both the city and suburbs, the responses cover a city workforce of approximately 4,800 employees.

Return to the office

  • It has already started. Market-wide, around half the respondents provided a date that has already transpired. 17 percent of respondents will begin over the summer months. 40 percent do not have a date yet to commence re-boarding. There was no direct correlation found between the size of a firm’s workforce and setting a date to commence re-boarding. The largest occupier to respond started re-boarding at 25% capacity in June.
  • Breaking down to city vs. suburbs, 25 of the 40 city companies and 15 of the 25 suburban companies have picked a date to re-board (and in both cases, the majority have already commenced).
  • Most firms with a firm date started or will start at 25% occupancy.

Working remotely

  • 38 percent of respondents plan to keep a percentage of the workforce remote for the long term – and of that pool, the majority selected more than 50 percent of their workforce.
  • For city tenants, 17 indicated plans to keep a portion of the workforce remote long-term, and of those 17, all but two indicated plans to keep more than 25-50 percent remote long-term. While this pool was generally comprised of smaller occupants, it did include two large companies (500-1,000 employees). One selected the option of “more than 25 percent” and the other, “more than 50 percent” of their employees may work remotely long term.
  • Rough estimate – One in seven employees downtown could remain W.F.H. permanently. Source: NKF Research

Final note

Some respondents may be making educated guesses on their answers because actions and reactions are in constant evolution as more information becomes available in these uncertain times. Note that on a scale of one to five, one being that the tenant expects their stated plans to change and five being that the tenant is fully confident in their stated plans, the average response was 3.3.

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