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3-2 flex schedule becomes industry "standard"

NAREIM Member Survey: Return to Office, January update

Flex schedules and use of office space

January 21, 2022

Almost two-thirds of real estate investment managers are offering a 3-2 flex schedule – with NAREIM members saying the core days in the office were Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

The latest update to NAREIM’s return to office member survey – conducted between Jan 12 and 18 and focused on flex schedules and use of corporate office space – revealed 64% of firms were adopting 3-2 (three days in the office and two days at home) as a flex schedule. One member said 3-2 was becoming the “standard” for the industry.

NAREIM has regularly asked members about their return to office strategies, including policies on vaccination, flex, business travel and annual meetings.

The January member survey update showed that members are moving away from offering employees the ability to work from home full-time or four days a week.

Instead, firms are concentrating flex strategies around three, four or five days in the office. As part of the January update, members were also asked on which days more than 51% of FTEs were coming into the office. Member said Wednesday and Thursday were the core days, followed by Tuesday and then Monday.

The NAREIM member survey was completed by 16 organizations representing almost 2,500 real estate employees. The average participant employee count was 154.

The Survey also asked firms how they were planning to use or change the use of their corporate space in 2022 bearing in mind hybrid work and headcount changes.

Key takeaways include:

Hoteling/hot desking:

  • Just 19% of firms are considering or implementing hoteling/hot desking – with another 12% still deciding their future plans

  • For those considering or implementing hoteling, members agreed that increasing headcount – coupled with a reluctance to commit to a larger office space in the short to medium-term – was driving hoteling strategies, followed by the introduction of flex schedules

  • Not all employees will hot desk, with policies typically introduced according to different levels of seniority

Home/office equipment & cost:

  • Three-quarters of firms provide for office equipment in the home and corporate office and 62% of firms are scaling back or changing what they provide in the office

  • One-third are moving to laptops only, while one quarter are going cell-phones only in the office

Flex schedules:

  • NAREIM members also left comments about their flex schedules strategies, with most noting that 3-2 was now becoming the “standard” strategy for the industry in terms of days in the office and days at home

  • Many were still trying to “figure it out”

  • As anecdotal evidence suggests, typically executive officers, acquisition, portfolio and asset management and deal teams were in the office more frequently, while back office functions were more likely to be remote

  • 75% of firms do not or are still working on a formal flex work policy. Just 19% of firms had a formal policy

To download your complimentary copy of the Member Survey, click here.

To see the anonymized raw data, please click here.

To read prior Member Surveys on Return to Office policies, click the links below:

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