A survey conducted by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln found changes in attitudes about working from home and the frequency of employees doing so, yet little change in office space use. The Bureau of Business Research conducted the survey from June through September to examine the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on commercial real estate usage and remote work in Nebraska.
“The survey identifies changing attitudes about remote work and trends in the frequency of remote work in Nebraska,” said Eric Thompson, department chair, K.H. Nelson College Professor of Economics and director of Bureau of Business Research. “The results show businesses in covered commercial industries have become more comfortable with remote work since the onset of the pandemic.”
The survey showed 27.6% of businesses were more comfortable with remote work while 13.3% were less comfortable. The average share of employees in remote or hybrid work also rose from 10.7% to 16.5%.
“Nonetheless, nearly 90% of Nebraska businesses in covered industries did not change the amount of office space they use since the onset of the pandemic, while 7.3% increased it and 3.7% reduced it,” Thompson said.
He added that modest changes in space use may have occurred because 52% of businesses in covered commercial industries believe it is vital to maintain office space for remote workers on occasions when they come to the office.
“Many surveyed businesses also own their own building and do not rent out space. These businesses would have difficulty quickly changing office space use,” he said.
Conducted for the Nebraska Business Development Center, the survey was funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Sent to 1,599 Nebraska service organizations including business, professional and technical services; finance; information and educational support services, the survey included an 18.9% response rate.