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EY Survey Finds Companies Adapting to New World of Work

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Nov 23, 2022


Despite a cooling economy, American C-suite leaders remain optimistic about commercial real estate, with implications for how they accommodate their workforces, Ernst & Young’s second annual Future Workplace Index found. To compile the data, the index anonymously surveyed more than 500 U.S. C-suite and business leaders spanning a multitude of industries.

Only 33 percent of the business leaders surveyed said they will downsize their investment, and 58 percent said they will invest, in commercial real estate, the survey found. Even with those commitments, employers are adapting to the changes in working behavior of the past few years.

The survey also found that more than 70 percent of employees are working from home at least two to three days a week, compared to about 42 percent of employers working hybrid last year. These patterns will affect companies’ real estate strategy, such as the amount and cost of space.

Sixty-four percent are either leasing or considering leasing suburban office space since the pandemic as they attempt to promote a return to the office. To encourage more in-office working, companies are also investing in such efforts as in-person events, meal provision, commuter cost reimbursement and childcare support.

Competition for talent has prompted employers to attract and retain workers. One of those methods is the four-day work week, which 40 percent of the companies surveyed have either started or are in the process of implementing. The Index found that 69 percent of companies’ leadership have implemented or are implementing hybrid work technologies such as video collaboration platforms and virtual whiteboards to accommodate remote and in-person employees. Not surprisingly, 64 percent of executives believe flexible working options motivate employees.

"The economic downturn will force leaders to make important decisions regarding their real estate portfolios — from investments, to space optimization, to workforce models," said Mark Grinis, EY Americas Real Estate, Hospitality & Construction Leader. "Employers are beginning to understand that they need to earn the commute time of their employees, and many are investing in the 'office of the future' to achieve this."