Are Small Suburban Offices The New Normal? Lets Take A Closer Look by Greg McKinney Mineola Texas
Hello, I’m Greg McKinney a long-time real estate investor from Mineola TX. I enjoy studying the everchanging real estate market in the United States. Covid has brought many changes in our life over the past year and one fundamental change that will stay with us forever is where many people live and how they work. Employers became more comfortable with their employees working from home and so did the employees so many are continuing to work from home even after covid restrictions are being lifted.
However, some employees still need an office occasionally for various reasons so some investors are opening small office spaces in suburban areas to fill this demand. Some investors are turning empty retail space into office space into an area they can then rent out. Some of these investors are fully furnishing these spaces with everything the employee needs to work or bring in clients for a meeting. These office spaces can be rented for a day, a month or longer terms.
We are also seeing new small office spaces being built in suburban growth areas. Some of the smaller towns located over an hour from major metropolitan areas are seeing new small office spaces being built to lure in these companies who are allowing employees to work more from home more or allowing them to work in a smaller office space closer to their homes. Remodeling some of the older retail spaces can be cost prohibitive so some investors are just electing to build new small office buildings to rent. They are able to usually charge higher rent for these new spaces compared to remodeling an older building.
This new trend could be a positive for these suburban areas that have been hit hard by the trend toward online retail shopping. There is empty retail space in almost every city in the U.S. that could easily be turned into a small office space.
This trend could be a positive for everyone. The employer will have a happier more productive employee who can continue to work primarily at home. They are not spending hours each day commuting but these small office spaces do give them a nice temporary space to work or just a space to take a break from working at home for a few days.
We could see this trend of employees working from home and these small office spaces over the next several years as high-speed internet expands to more rural areas. Internet services like Starlink are expanding rapidly and will provide high speed internet to very rural areas which will pull even more employees to the rural and suburban areas. With the expansion of 5g service it gave employees the ability to work in more suburban areas but with better satellite internet we will see even more employees expand into even more rural areas. Some early Starlink users are seeing internet speeds with 100mb download speeds which is extremely fast and plenty of download speed for most workers.
The small office space sector grew by over 20% in 2020 and is continuing to grow in 2021. Several large companies who own and manage apartment complexes are getting into this sector. They are purchasing these empty retail store spaces and converting them into office spaces which is a positive for the entire community. It revitalizes a dead area bringing much needed activity to the space which benefits all businesses in the area.
These small office spaces could be a positive for everyone. Workers will be able to spend more time with their families and less time commuting. Companies know that happier employees are more productive employees. With a tight labor market, it is important for companies to retain talented employees who are difficult to replace. Companies are looking for creative ways to retain these employees and having an office space closer to their homes is a big plus for the employee.
Another benefit to these small suburban offices will be few cars on the road making the roads safer. The fuel and cost to maintain a vehicle will be greatly reduced which could save the employee thousands of dollars each year. Hopefully this small office space trend will continue because it is definitely a positive for many reasons.