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64% of firms to offer flex schedules on long-term basis

Member Survey: Return, flex and vaccine strategies

December 21, 2021

More than two-thirds of NAREIM members said they were offering employees to ability to work from home on a longterm or permanent basis in the wake of the pandemic, according to the latest member survey. 

Of the 64% of participants who said they were offering flex work schedules as a long-term benefit, 13% of participants it was being offered to all employees. Another 13% of firms said flex schedules were being offered according to functional groups. An extra 38% said flex schedules were being approved on a case-by-case basis.

Ratio of days in office:

  • In terms of flex schedules, the industry is roughly split between firms offering 3 days in the office/2 days at home (36% of firms) and those requiring 5 days in the office (29% of firms) 

  • One in seven firms (14%) is leaving the decision of days in the office/home at the discretion of employees

  • In additional comments, members said it was largely down to team/functional group managers to    get teams together in the office on certain days to help collaboration. Managers were also largely responsible for tracking time in the office and productivity

  • Many firms said they were trying to get most people in the office on Mondays and Tuesdays

The Member Survey is the latest in a series of polls conducted on return to office strategies. A total of 32 organizations participated in the survey, conducted between December 14 and 17, with participants representing almost 8,000 employees in total and a media employee count of 133. 

Flex schedules key takeaways:

  • 38% of managers are offering flex schedules to employees on a case-by-case basis

  • 26% of firms are offering the ability to work from home to all employees or offering flex schedules according to functional group

  • 16% of firms are not offering the ability to work from home

  • 22% of managers have still to determine their long-term policy

What is not working in terms of flex?

The long-term impacts of flexible work schedules has yet to be fully tested, according to many NAREIM members. Indeed, sentiment to the question: ‘What’s not working?’ often revealed a sense that it’s too early to really tell what the impact to employee well-being, training and development and the firm will be in years to come. 

However, members revealed they were struggling most in terms of collaboration and training, and also called for NAREIM to investigate corporate space needs in 2022.

  • “Sometimes it is difficult to ascertain where people are, and it is challenging to have impromptu calls/meetings.”

  • “We received push back particularly from junior to mid-level team members about a desire to work more from home than a single day."

  • “Likely a minor loss in overall efficiency, innovation, employee engagement and culture building. Short term impacts may not be material, but longer-term impact could grow overtime.

Vaccine and booster mandates takeaways:

  • 60% of firms require vaccines for employees to work in the office either as a national corporate policy or in states where vaccines are required. 

  • 13% of firms are currently requiring boosters. A quarter of firms have required vaccines as a condition of employment.

  • Many firms adopt an honor/attestation system as well as asking for proof of vaccination status.

  • One member said that while vaccines were not required, non-vaccinated staff members had to wear a mask in the office, including at their personal workstation.

About the Survey

NAREIM members often reach out to ask their peers about pressing concerns impacting their business. 

Return to the office is one such challenge facing the real estate investment management industry today and we invited members to share their best practices regarding flex and vaccine strategies between December 14 and December 17, 2021. 

A total of 32 member organizations submitted data with total real estate employee count of 7,937 and a median employee count of 133. All survey answers are provided anonymously - to both fellow members and NAREIM. 

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