Over the past year, I have been asked the same question over and over: What will happen to office space users? Will they all just work from home from now on? Will offices ever come back?  

2020 showed us that many office jobs can be performed at home, and though I’ve written before about some of the drawbacks of being fully remote, for some companies this new WFH workforce will become the norm. The below graphic is from the study, —How Many Jobs Can be done at Home by Jonathan Dingel and Brent Neiman, which goes into more detail on which jobs can truly be done remote, but here are my takeaways: 

— According to the Dingel/Neiman paper, 37% of jobs can be fully performed at home. That’s a sizable number. 

— If 37% of jobs go remote permanently, there could be a resulting negative office space absorption over the next few years as leases expire, causing an increase in office market vacancy. 

— The top industries with fully remote jobs were, unsurprisingly, mostly office-based jobs like Professional and Technical Services, Legal Operations, Business Management and Finance.

— As seen in the below graphic by the Becker Friedman, remote jobs tend to be concentrated in bigger cities. The top metro area with the potential for remote jobs is San Jose, CA (home to Silicon Valley). The exact numbers for the Phoenix metro area aren’t specified, but in the below graph we’re put at between 35-50% of jobs that could be conducted fully remote.

We’re not out of this pandemic yet.  We are monitoring this potential WFH trend and what real companies are doing over the next year.  If you are one of those companies, call or email me.  I have a formal presentation on 10 ways that office space users are changing post-Covid office layouts and I would be happy to go over with you.


With much of U.S. staying at home, how many jobs can be done remotely?

Image courtesy of the Becker Friedman Institute

Click here to view the graph larger.