I Asked What it Would Take to Get Gen Z Back to the Office: “Private Offices, Man. Microsoft Gives Them to Everybody”, by John E. McNellis

What a radical thought. People may like a little privacy and a little space they can call they’re own on the job. From John E. McNellis at wolfstreet.com:

What? Old-school offices work better than WeWork playpens? Reinstalling private offices in the growing legions of ghost buildings may be worth a try.

The office market is grim, barreling toward grimmer. According to Newmark, the national vacancy rate in Q3 topped 17.6 percent. Downtown Oakland stands at 21.3 percent, while San Francisco is outpacing the pack at 24.1 percent. With almost no traditional financing available and a bid-ask spread wider than the Grand Canyon, the nationwide office market is at best hibernating.

Those praying for its awakening (basically, everyone in real estate) need office workers to return. This is why some office landlords are quietly applauding Big Tech’s mass firings, hoping the thousands of now unemployed engineers will portend a buyer’s market for talent, one so strong that employers can insist that the office actually be part of office work. Some landlords might even welcome another dotcom collapse, likening it to a Covid vaccination: nasty side effects at first, but a much better chance of long-term survival.

The layoffs could be having an effect. JLL reports a slow return of workers to San Francisco—occupancy rising to 40 percent since Labor Day—and BART ridership up a tad.

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