- People are feeling more at ease being close to one another again
- Even after the pandemic, frictionless services are still in demand
- In response to the pandemic, businesses became more efficient
There is no doubt that the world is a different place in 2022 than it was before the pandemic. Now that people are going about their business as they did in 2019, what lessons can companies take from the pandemic? Howard Altshuler, Partner-in-Charge, Real Estate and Construction Services at Weaver, joined Rob Nowak, Tax Partner of Real Estate, to tackle which trends will stay, what goes back to the way it was and what can businesses learn from the past two years.
One trend that Altshuler said has shifted since the pandemic is office square footage size. “Before the pandemic, everybody looked at the cost per square foot or the number of square feet per person. Offices got smaller and smaller. People started working not so much in offices, not even cubicles, but on benches and at desks. And you’d fit four or five people into a little conference room.” Today, the trend is more space, and while Altshuler didn’t expect much more square footage increases, the pandemic halted the space-squeezing movement.
Altshuler still sees spacing out of patrons in restaurants but staffing shortages shoulder some of this issue as establishments still face hiring challenges. People are ready to return to restaurants, but there are not enough workers to service them. While outdoor dining became a lifeline for restaurants during the worst phases of the pandemic, with patrons returning to the indoor ambiance, will restaurants reduce their outdoor dining footprints? Altshuler said the future remains unclear.
Businesses learned during the pandemic that maintaining better-quality systems, such as HVAC and water, promotes a safer and healthier environment for workers, associates and patrons. “Whether or not it relates to a prevention measure with respect to the pandemic, we’re now trying to reimagine how can we make life easier for tenants,” Nowak said. “How can we make life easier for our employees?”