Commuters in train station, representing hybrid work environment and housing challenges.

Housing Challenges Caused by Hybrid Work Environments

In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, a vast majority of office-based businesses switched to remote work environments. It wasn’t safe or practical to have people coming into an office setting everyday. Workers adapted to this new lifestyle. Some embraced the change and loved working remotely. Others had a harder time adjusting to it, especially considering the rest of their families were home and it wasn’t always easy to stay focused on work tasks.

Changing Housing Priorities

From a real estate perspective, we saw significant changes in housing priorities during this period. First, people were looking for houses that had home offices, home gyms and multi-generational living quarters to adapt to this new way of life. Work, school and other activities were being done more at home, so the demand was high for properties that offered these amenities.

Relocation Trends

Another major housing trend during and directly after the pandemic was homeowners moving further away from where their office jobs were located. People living in crowded cities moved out to the country or the suburbs. Some moved to completely different counties or states for tax benefits and cost-of-living savings. Others moved closer to their families. The ability to work remotely was a major reason for the increase in real estate sales activity in 2020 and 2021, along with the historically low mortgage rates.

Many homeowners acted somewhat rashly. They moved somewhere new because they assumed this remote lifestyle would be a permanent change. That wasn’t necessarily the case, and now people are facing new housing challenges.

The New Normal

Many office-based businesses have switched fully back to full-time office hours or “hybrid” work environments. These hybrid companies require some days and hours to be worked at the office. Then, other time is spent working remotely. A lot of workers moved further away from their offices during the pandemic—some very far away. Now, they are finding themselves having to commute at least part of the time.

Ultimately, most companies are going to be concerned about the bottom line. Many of them believe that certain tasks are better done in person and/or some employees are more productive in the office. Reasons like these have led them to go back to full-time office hours and hybrid schedules. Where it gets frustrating for the employees is the fact that these same companies embraced fully remote work schedules during the pandemic. They didn’t seem to have a problem with an employee moving further away from the office at the time. Now, they expect workers to come back to the office as they used to do.

What to Do?

Many homeowners are now having to make tough decisions. Do they sell their house and move back closer to work again? This is easier said than done with high mortgage rates, inflation, low housing inventory and other real estate market challenges. Do they suck it up and commute from further away? Do they leave that job and try to find something closer to their new home?

Hybrid work schedules are particularly difficult for many homeowners in this situation. It may make more sense to move closer with a full-time office commute. A hybrid schedule leaves someone in the middle. They like where they live now and it’s likely a more affordable living situation. However, commuting from further away can add significant travel costs. It can also be physically draining with a longer commute. Some workers have been lucky and are able to continue working remotely—for now. However, finding a new job with a fully remote schedule is becoming more and more difficult as so many businesses have reverted back to either traditional or hybrid work environments.

When it comes to your job and your real estate needs, you have to consider every factor. Careful planning and prioritizing your housing needs will make a significant difference before making a big move. Ultimately, you need to make the decisions that are best for you and your family—physically, emotionally and financially. If you are thinking about moving in the near future for any reason, contact The Cyr Team today. Let us help you make the right decisions based on your specific housing situation.


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