Labor issues affecting commercial real estate

Tim Whitney

Let’s start with some highlights from a recent Coldwell Banker Commercial blog titled “Do Company Priorities Align with Workers’ Shifting Values?”

“For many people, the mandatory hiatus from in-person work triggered a re-evaluation of the type of work they want to do and where they want to do it,” the blog stated. “Some have embraced remote work, relocated geographically, moved to another company. In certain cases, people reoriented their career trajectory or even entered early retirement.”

An ADP study titled “People at Work 2022: A Global Workforce View” found that 71 percent of workers have seriously considered a major career move this year as they re-evaluated the importance of job security and business ethics.

The study cited an “emerging sense that a secure job is one that allows workers to earn a living on their own terms, without compromising on essentials like their health, well-being or family time or even their personal beliefs and values.

“These shifts in worker sentiment, combined with a tight labor market, have given employees a massive upper hand. To attract and retain skilled, valuable staff — particularly, a diverse and productive staff — leaders need to not only offer higher compensation, but also rethink the way they run their companies.

“As in the broader economy, employees in commercial real estate are experiencing greater levels of stress without the appropriate resources to counter it, which leads to the trend of ‘quiet quitting’ and, eventually, burnout.”

As you’ve probably guessed, the biggest effect of these labor issues on commercial real estate has been in the office market.

The occupancy of office space hasn’t recovered since the COVID-19 pandemic forced everyone home. Workers got used to being home and many have been fighting ever since to stay there.

While some jobs can be performed remotely, not every office job can or should be.

On the retail front, I’ve spoken with a few business owners who’d like to expand their operations by adding locations, but they’re having a hard time finding motivated employees to fill new positions.

No one seems to have an easy solution to the problem. But I’m hoping the problem will be solved sooner rather than later.