June is start of return to office for real estate investment managers

NAREIM Member Survey. Executive Summary

May 20, 2021


One in five real estate investment managers is earmarking June as the date for most employees to return to the office, with a quarter looking to July or August for a return to the workplace, according to a NAREIM member survey.


A third are looking to September for a majority of employees to return, the NAREIM Return to the Office survey found.


The NAREIM member survey focused on return to office strategies and was conducted between May 14 and 17. It asked members about their return to office strategies, vaccinations, work from home and strategies for flexible working, annual investor meetings and culture.


As vaccine rollout has expanded across the U.S., and Covid-safety and business travel restrictions ease, members said the biggest driver for a return to the workplace among employees was the desire to collaborate and interact with co-workers. The biggest concern was personal health and the risk of infection, although it was closely followed by childcare and transportation.


By the numbers:

  • 13% of NAREIM members said they were already back partially or on a volunteer basis

  • 21% said they were looking to return partially or fully in June

  • 26% said they were looking to return in either July or August

  • 32% said they were looking to September.


One big question on everyone’s mind is work-from-home, and whether it will stay for the long-term.

According to the survey, almost all NAREIM members said flexible schedules would be offered. Firms are actively focused on how they engage with team members working remotely, in the office or in a hybrid model.


Key highlights from the survey also included:

  • Personal health and higher risk of infection remain the leading concern among employees in considering when to return, followed by childcare, use of public transportation and the preference to work from home.

  • Safety in the office: Many Covid-related measures implemented in the office prior to work-from-home will continue.

  • Annual investor meetings: 14% of firms are planning to hold their annual investor meeting in-person in 2021 – up from just 3.6% in March. A total of 43% of firms said in the survey they were planning to be virtual in 2021, with a third still to determine whether to be online, in-person or hybrid. Another 11% said they would be hybrid.


Download an executive summary of the Return to Office Survey, here.

NAREIM members get access to the full findings. For more information on becoming a NAREIM members, contact Zoe Hughes, zhughes@nareim.org