Podcast

The Future of the Office: How Space Shapes Culture, and Culture Shapes Space

2Q21

How the pandemic and reopening is shifting the needs, attitudes, and approaches of office tenants by submarket across the country.

Read The Transcript

Jen Frisk specializes in strategic advisory services and managing office tenancy transactions across the country in her role as Senior Managing Director at Newmark Knight Frank. We speak about the state of the office in commercial real estate from a tenant & landlord perspective and examine some of the key emerging trends by submarket across the country. Jen’s experience and expertise offers a precise and insightful look at how the office sector of CRE is poised to emerge from the lockdown.

Besides talking about what’s in store for the future of office CRE, we also examine how the industry responded to COVID-19, the effects it had on tenants & landlords, the changing requirements of office spaces, and much more. Most importantly, we discuss the impact that working from home has had on people’s productivity, interconnectedness, and mental health, predicting the ways employers will have to change their attitudes toward workers in the office and how various firms’ approaches will affect the return of Office CRE.

Key Insights

  • How the Office sector of Commercial Real Estate (CRE) is changing as employees return, and what the early emerging trends will mean for the future of Office CRE
  • Understanding how COVID-19 has impacted office buildings in various submarkets across the country
  • Reviewing and dispelling some of the misconceptions around how the pandemic has affected tenant behavior
  • How the increasing progress in, and attention paid to, mental health & wellness is impacting the office workspace
  • How company culture impacts the type, layout, and amount of space a firm’s office should occupy

Guest Bio:

Jennifer Frisk is a Senior Managing Director in Newmark Knight Frank’s downtown Los Angeles office, where she specializes in strategic advisory services. Ms. Frisk currently manages real estate transactions for clients throughout Southern California, and across the nation. With 13 years of experience working on behalf of tenants, principals, and landlords throughout the world, she brings a unique and creative perspective to her clients.

Jennifer has been an NKF Top Producer in 2015, 2017, and 2018, and has been honored by the Los Angeles Business Summit as a Woman of Influence in 2016 and 2017. Ms. Frisk is also a board member of the Los Angeles Women’s Leadership Council, which supports the collaboration of the women leaders throughout Los Angeles and furthers her involvement within the community.

Prior to joining Newmark Knight Frank, Ms. Frisk was an executive director at LA Realty Partners in the West Los Angeles office. Jennifer also gained experience at Jones Lang LaSalle, where she represented more than one million square feet for Los Angeles landlords, and at Bixby Land Company in Orange County. She graduated from USC with a B.S. in Real Estate Development and is active on the alumni board.

Resources:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenniferfrisk/

https://officecreated.com/

Real Wealth Real Health

Alpha Investing

[email protected]

Podcast Transcript

Speaker 1:

Welcome to Real Wealth Real Health, the show that empowers you with insights, information and inspiration to achieve your version of financial wellness. Learn how to balance living a full life today with planning for the future. This podcast is brought to you by Alpha Investing, a real estate-centric private capital network that provides exclusive investment opportunities to its members. And now, here are your hosts, AdaPia d’Errico and Daniel Cocca.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Hello and welcome back to another episode of Real Wealth Real Health. Today our guest is Jennifer Frisk. Jen is a Senior Managing Director in Newmark Knight Frank’s downtown Los Angeles office, where she specializes in strategic advisory services. Jen has 13 years of experience working on behalf of tenants, principals and landlords throughout the world, and she currently manages real estate transactions for clients throughout Southern California and across the nation. We speak about the state of the office in commercial real estate from a tenant and landlord’s perspective and examine some of the key emerging trends by submarket across the country.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Jen’s experience and expertise offers a precise and insightful look at how the office sector is poised to emerge from the lockdown. We also examined the changing requirements of office spaces, and we discussed the impact that working from home has had on people’s productivity, how the increasing progress in and attention paid to mental health and wellness is impacting the office space, and Jen also gives us a sneak peek into predicting the ways employers will have to change their attitudes towards workers in the office, and how various firms approaches will affect the return of the office in commercial real estate.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Jen, welcome to the podcast. We are so excited to have you. You are the Senior Managing Director at Newmark. You are a commercial real estate broker who reps tenants for their office leasing needs. And I think that this comes at such a wonderful time as it feels we’re coming out of the pandemic, certainly there’s a lot of talk about going back to work and what that looks. You’ve been in the space for a really long time, even pre-pandemic, so I’m really looking forward to diving into a few different topics. But before we get started, could you give in your own words a quick background on who you are?

Jennifer Frisk:

Yeah. Sounds good. Thanks for having me. Very excited to be here. I’ve been in the commercial real estate space going on two decades now, starting on the principle side representing landlords and then moving into what we do now, which is primarily the tenant rep side as it relates to office leasing; some investments sales primarily for office space, a little bit of retail, a little bit of industrial, all thrown in for fun. Our team has been together for a little over six years now.

Jennifer Frisk:

At Newmark, we also have our own brand, officecreated.com, and that was really born out of an idea and really a want to set ourselves apart and not just to focus on what people need from a square footage standpoint or number of offices, but really to dive into a company culture and be able to help companies realize the fact that space can be a reflection of culture and also a proponent of culture and how those things really tie together. And I think all of that, even though the pandemic has brought us all home, all of that has really been exacerbated by what’s happened in the last 13 months.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Yeah, yeah. I’m really looking forward to diving into the whole design piece and design as a function of wellness in a way and productivity and just the way that we’re so interconnected with our work these days. But before we go there, I thought it’d be really good to start with basically where you just left off, just saying the past 13 months have been life changing and of the different asset classes within real estate… from our side as investors one of the ones that got hit and slowed down and people were most worried about is office. So things were flying. Everything was going great up until 13 months ago. So from your experience, what happened? What was your experience in the pandemic?

Jennifer Frisk:

Oh, my gosh. What hasn’t happened? I mean, look, we all went home, and we joked to each other, “We’re going to go home for two weeks, and we’ll all be back.” And that obviously didn’t happen. So I think we’ve looked at this all along in the different phases of COVID. There was the phase of “We all don’t know what happened. Let’s just ask for rent relief,” or “Let’s just stop paying our rent, and landlords will help us,” and “We can’t get to our offices, so they have to give us free rent.” And that really didn’t happen across the board.

Jennifer Frisk:

And then, that quickly transitioned into, “All right. We’re going to plan to go back to the office, and it’s going to include plexiglass and all these weird schedules and all these weird floor markers, and you can only walk in a conference room one way, chairs were going to take be taped off.” It was going to be this whole thing. And then, a few clients and a few companies did pay for that and asking them now, they say they wish they hadn’t, because obviously that didn’t come to fruition either.

Jennifer Frisk:

And then, we got into this, I will call it a lull, of working from home. Managing through a crisis, as I like to call it, as opposed to working from home, because none of us were really that efficient, I think, or that functional. And as we’ve come into the new year and just spring, a new administration and vaccines, we are really looking at a true return to the office, a true new working model, what all of that means.

Jennifer Frisk:

And I think one of the interesting things, actually, from an investor standpoint is, throughout all of those phases, landlords have remained really bullish. They have held face rates, they have offered additional concessions, and there’s been deals that have been made very aggressively, primarily on the sublease market, but from an investment standpoint, landlords have not wavered much on asking rates on rent concessions. Almost 95% of our office clients that did get help got rent deferral, not rent relief. I think if you’d asked us last April if that was going to be the trend, we wouldn’t have guessed that, but that’s been actually one consistent compared to all of what tenants I’ve worked through in all these different phases.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Okay. So, okay, that’s so interesting.

Jennifer Frisk:

Does that answer your question.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Oh, no. It does. I mean, there’s so much. There’s so much there to really think about, because I’m also thinking about the way at Alpha we went in the beginning of the year, I mean, we were raising our first fund; we had deals we were underwriting; Q2 had a few deals that we were going to present. And then, full stop, full lull. Definitely did not expect the growth or the momentum that built up starting for us last summer. That’s when our momentum really, really started to build. And to your point, this bullishness in the market, even from an investor perspective, I think, has taken everybody by surprise. It certainly took us by surprise. And so, from the perspective of some of your clients, I’m curious who was thinking about and wanting to implement that plexiglass right away? What kind of companies were like, “No, I’m definitely staying in the office?” And then you said obviously that didn’t work out. But what kind of companies, or tenants rather, were those?

Jennifer Frisk:

I would actually put it less on the type of tenant and more on the geography when it comes to that. I don’t know, Daniel, if you’re in L.A. also, but being in L.A… and I think we all tend to do this in L.A… L.A.’s the center of the world.

Jennifer Frisk:

So everyone must think like we do, and often we represent a lot of clients nationally and globally and, obviously, that’s not the case. So I would say obviously you saw big tech sent everyone home. They’ve all sent out announcements about when they’re going to be calling people back. The big banks in New York sent everybody home. They’re all trickling back.

Jennifer Frisk:

But I would say it’s less industry, more geography. We’ve seen Texas stay in the office more. We’ve seen Chicago stay in the office more. We’ve seen a ton in Florida. I know a lot of our New York team migrated to Miami for the time being and was in the office there. So, interestingly enough, I think that was more geographic. And I think some of those cities are going to have some lasting benefits to them, because of that migration during COVID when a lot of other places were shut down.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Yeah. I was going to ask you about New York, because there’s one narrative, which is the depth of the cities. And I think multiple of those cities have gone through previous deaths, and they’ve always come back. So maybe just a little insight on New York, because it’s very much a focus for people when they talk about what happened.

Jennifer Frisk:

I mean, to use a quote that’s probably getting a little bit old now, but “New York always comes back.” They’ve been through the worst, I would say. If you look back in time, some of the worst events that have happened, have happened in New York, and the city continues to thrive. And if you look at also just comparatively quickly, California, we actually dove into the analysis from the post office. Many of those people that were fleeing “California” were actually moving within California. 94% were not actually leaving the state. They were moving within the state.

Jennifer Frisk:

And so, for New York, look, there are a lot of our clients who didn’t want to stay in the core, urban city while all this was going on. Many of them have options to be elsewhere… suburbs, different states surrounding, we talked about Florida. So we’ve seen activity come back in New York already. New York always tends to lead a little bit from a market standpoint, I feel like, at least for our business. And so, I don’t anticipate New York not coming back. It is a much bigger market, so they do have a lot of sublease space on the market. But from a percentage standpoint, that’s not dissimilar to anywhere else.

Daniel Cocca:

So, let me, let me jump in, ask a quick question. What I’m trying to think about is the difference between a tenant who probably has knowledge-based employees that haven’t been terribly impacted in a negative way as it relates to COVID, as it relates to the company’s ability to pay. They’re still paying their leases just as they otherwise would. But on a going forward basis, a lot of the stories I hear anecdotally, whether it’s professional services firms like law firms or investment bankers or private equity, “We have six floors in this building, and people have been working well remotely, and so we’re gonna go down to three or two.” Is there a aggregate impact of enough groups making those types of decisions, and then the competition that creates between firms, because a lot of people to work remotely? How do you think about that in the office space on a going forward basis?

Jennifer Frisk:

There’s a lot in there, so let me try and get all of it. But I think that, first of all, look we are definitely seeing that, and I think that going forward, the majority of employees… like you said, the knowledge-based employees… are not going to be in the office from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM or whatever crazy hours we were all working. Whether we’re in three days a week or three and a half days a week or whatever it is, there is still going to be an office presence, but it’s not going to be what it was.

Jennifer Frisk:

And to that end, when we are in the office… and I know we’re going to talk about this later, so I won’t dive into it too much now… but the way we work is going to be different. So what we’re seeing designed is much more we, W-E, space, as compared to what was previously all me space. So before, every employee had a desk, and then there was a ratio of how much we space that employee went to, from a space planning standpoint. Now, we’re seeing almost one to one from a me space to a we space. The me space might be shared, because you might trade off with someone during the week, you might not have an assigned desk anymore.

Jennifer Frisk:

But we’re going to see a significant increase in the amount of we space. Actually, I agree with you that many companies are saying, “Oh, we’ll go from…” to use your example… “six floors down to two or three.” I am of the belief that people are going to scale back too much, get everybody in the space, people are going to start coming back, maybe be there a little bit more than what we all originally thought.

Jennifer Frisk:

I think re entry is going to be a weird time, but once we get through it, I think that companies will realize maybe they gave back too much, and that there will be some sort of happy medium. We surveyed our clients. We got I think over 350 results last fall, and 80% of them anticipated needing about the same space, but laid out in a different way and perhaps even in going from one office to five offices, depending on what market you’re in. So I think you’re right. I think that will happen, but I think that will correct as we really start to understand the way in which we’re going to work when we do go back to the office.

Daniel Cocca:

Do you feel similarly about suburban office or when you speak about this, are you talking about in L.A. or are you also talking about the areas outside?

Jennifer Frisk:

So when I talk about the hub and spoke model and maybe that sixth floor tenant that becomes three floors, maybe they still are three floors in their urban core, and maybe they have some hub and spoke other locations outside of there… When you talk about the suburban office, the hub and spoke model obviously isn’t really applicable, I mean, depending on which suburban market, but not as not as applicable. And in suburban markets, I actually think it will be easier to get back to the office, because they aren’t as impacted by travel, whether that be traffic or public transit. And so, I think it will be the same type of culture from an office standpoint as to how they work from a workplace strategy standpoint in the suburban office. That obviously negates the hub and spoke, the need for the hub and spoke.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Yeah. So I would love to transition this. You were saying, “Here’s some of the trends,” so I think this is a really good place to go there, and I know you’re so passionate about this… design conversation and design as a measure of I’m going to call it wellness, because mental health has become such a huge topic, finally, in-

Jennifer Frisk:

Finally.

AdaPia d’Errico:

… work. Finally, it’s being acknowledged. So we’ll call it wellness. We can call it productivity. I know that’s a really big piece of what you do. So let’s talk about that a little bit and what this is that you do, and then how that is now being implemented in this new working world in the office.

Jennifer Frisk:

So I think when you think about office space, so many people thought about it just as you have it, you have to have it. A lot of the tech companies, I think, started this trend of using the office as a perk, and you saw all kind of other perks around that, whether it was free lunch or dry cleaning or bring your pets to the office, but really just ploys to get people to work harder and longer hours and keep them in the office more. But if you look at the line item of real estate costs, it’s the second highest to salaries. So companies, most of them, put all of this effort and all this thought into their people. If you’re paying that much for office space, why wouldn’t you do the same when you can get so much out of space… at least it’s our belief…. so much out of space that can drive culture, and if you build out your space the right way, can actually promote culture better than almost anything really can?

Jennifer Frisk:

And so, we were talking about this pre-COVID. Obviously, we’ve all said COVID accelerated a lot of these trends. And so, instead of going into companies when we were speaking with clients and saying, “How many people do you have,” it was more of a question of, “Who are you as a company? What is important to you? How do your employees want to work? How do they feel comfortable? How do they collaborate? What do they need in the space,” instead of just, “Okay. Everybody needs a desk, and we need a conference room and a kitchen.” And so now, I think we’re looking at that even more, because employers have to have a reason for employees to come back to the office.

Jennifer Frisk:

And I know that I, and personally our team, is looking to come back from an office that’s different than the one that we left for many of these same reasons. We’re going to use the office to collaborate, we’re gonna have clients come in, we would have investors come in, we would use it as a showcase, we would use it as allowed we would use it to entertain eventually when that’s safe to do again. For us, that’s our culture. We’re in sales, we’re in the relationship business, we’re in the people business, we’re in the talking business. And so, our office should be a reflection of that, and we should be able to use the layout and the design in order to promote that, instead of just having a big sea of cubes where everyone feels lost. And so, that’s some of what we were doing before.

Jennifer Frisk:

It’s exciting that we get a chance to redesign, because so many of our clients are coming to us saying, “We either like our building, or we don’t. If we do, we probably want it to lay out differently. And if we don’t, we also want a different building, and we also want it to lay out differently.” So I think we’ve all learned a lot over the last couple of years leading up to this. I think the days of 12,000 people packed into a sea of cubicles is over, thank goodness, for everyone… physical health and mental health. So I think it’s very exciting to look at the office as more than just a place, but something that could actually build culture and build people and give back to that cost.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Yeah. And as you’re saying this, I’m going back to what you said before about it’s not company specific, but it’s geographic specific. So within some of these geographies or some of the things that you’re seeing now, what are some of the things that companies are doing maybe geographically, maybe not. So, for example, I remember reading something that was saying employees will go back to the office less frequently, let’s say, and that the office is going to be more of a social space than an actual workspace. That was one thing that I read, and so I wonder what you think of that and also obviously what you’re actually seeing being implemented.

Jennifer Frisk:

Oh, I think we’re just in this… Like I said, we’re in the start of the reentry phase, and I think everyone’s starting to have these conversations, and no one really knows. I mean, we host an episodic series, it’s called Three Good Minutes, and we were talking about reentry yesterday. Everyone’s sending out surveys and everyone’s asking people questions. I think the answer is no one knows yet, and I think this phase of not knowing is okay. I think last year, people really wanted answers, and in times of uncertainty, obviously we all look for answers. But I think the longer employers can let people come back and figure it out and design to six months from now rather than six weeks from now, I think that will go a long way to getting it right, instead of getting it wrong and then making all these changes and spending money that maybe doesn’t need to be spent.

Jennifer Frisk:

So most of our clients are in, I’ll call it the discovery phase, right now of what they want to do. For the ones that have already started making changes or looking at new space, I think the main thing we’ve seen is space was way too dense. So there was way, way too many people in the space, not enough breakout rooms, not enough conference rooms, not enough private space, not enough soft seating where people could have casual meetings. So to that end, we are calling it resimercial, which I think is maybe a little bit more applicable than social. Obviously, it’s social, but it is a place to work. I think the space will have more of a residential hospitality type overlay, as opposed to just being social, like going to a restaurant. So I differentiate them that way. And look, we’ve all been working at home. There are things about working at home that we like, and I think you’ll see some of those things make their way into offices.

AdaPia d’Errico:

How much of this… As you’re speaking I’m thinking about coworking, and even though co working was pretty packed at times, too, but some of that resi was there, too, with the couches and the different spaces. So is it going to look a little bit more like what was going on in co working do you think?

Jennifer Frisk:

I think yes, actually, to some extent. And everyone’s got their qualms about coworking and everyone has 1000 things to say about WeWork. But, look, we have clients who came out of WeWork as five people and are now 500 people, and many of them have said they miss always having a conference room, always having a place to go, always having a place to go and sit. So I think that part of the design aspect, WeWork, to use them as an example, they did get right. And so, I think more of that we-type space, which is what we’re talking about, will translate.

Jennifer Frisk:

And I do think there’s a V3 of coworking. If the executive suite model was V1 one, this last go around was V2. Coworking does serve a purpose, and for growing companies and especially coming out of times of uncertainty when clients maybe don’t want to sign or commit to 5, 7, 10-year leases, coworking does create a solution for that. I think they also just have to make modifications as well from a density standpoint, but I think the two will mutually benefit each other.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Even pre-COVID and now going into it, I remember you had some really good insights about the way that a company might design a space for just maximum… I don’t want to use word productivity, because it’s so linear. But just for the team’s happiness, for their wanting to work, I remember there were some things you were saying about the way that you want to set spaces up specifically to facilitate certain kinds of work. And so, can you talk a little bit about some of those general practices and how those have impacted the clients that we’re working with you, even pre-COVID, because those kind of case studies are there?

Jennifer Frisk:

And are you saying how people were working before COVID or when they’re coming back to the office, how are we designing space so that they can work more… Well, I guess you’re right. It’s not productivity. It’s more in line with how they want to actually work.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Yeah. I mean, I guess if that’s changed, then let’s talk about how you’re designing for that today.

Jennifer Frisk:

Look, I’m not an architect. And I think that’s what when we say we’re in that discovery phase, we are seeing a lot of clients pick back up on requirements that maybe they left off, maybe that they weren’t sure about. And I think there are still a lot of questions about, like Daniel said, how often people will be in the office, what that looks. In L.A., I think you can make the argument for people preferring a hub and spoke model, depending on the type of company.

Jennifer Frisk:

I don’t know what your commute was before this or what it would be going back, but we’ve seen a lot of people in L.A. really focused on drive time recently. And so, if you look at the hub and spoke model and you do it geographically… I know it’s going on a tangent from your question… but maybe you’ve got people in office that normally wouldn’t worked together. Maybe if you had three floors, but you break that into East Side, West Side, South Bay; you’ve got a West Side office where it’s all different departments, it’s all different people; you’ve got collaboration happening; you’ve got relationships being fostered that way that is different than what companies are used to. And it may be a little bit uncomfortable, and it may take a little while to adopt. That is something I see happening.

Jennifer Frisk:

And I think for me personally to talk to this, I used to have an office. It was an inbound office, meaning not on the window line. I would go in, in the morning, I would close my door. I would work all day. I would come out occasionally to talk to people or go to the bathroom or get coffee. And it was pretty isolating I realized and not dissimilar from what I have been doing at home. So how do you especially bring people into an office environment where they’re not going back to what they were doing before, if it wasn’t working? And for some it was, but I think for many, we realized there was a better way. And so, I think that requires a lot more understanding of employees, and I think this also ties to just the general health of people… mental health, physical health… letting people have a say in how they want to work, which was never really the case. You got a job, you were told where you were going to sit.

Jennifer Frisk:

So I hope, actually, that this is a catalyst for a little bit of change around what people really want and need, instead of just being told, “This is the company. This is the culture. This is how you work,” and letting the individual employees have a little bit of a stamp, I guess, on company culture, which is going to bring about some probably really great creativity and uniqueness and collaboration and innovation, I think.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Yeah, I think so, too. I think it’s really important what you said about companies including their employees in this new design in coming back to the office and entering a workspace. And in L.A. thinking about if you had basically mini headquarters everywhere that have multiple functions in different locations, it still allows probably for just a more overall collaborative model, instead of the finance department, everybody driving to one part of town, if that were the case, or just one big building that’s roughly triangulated between everywhere that you can go. So I think it’s going to be really interesting how that all plays out. And I don’t know if you know this, if this comes through with your work, but I’m curious to talk a little bit about the mental health aspect and the wellness aspect and if and how companies, if you’re seeing them acknowledge this in the return to work, if they’re consciously specifically taking that into account as we do this return to the office

Jennifer Frisk:

I think the first thing that’s easy to talk about, as it relates to that, is vaccines, and everyone’s position on vaccine policy. I mean, we’ve seen some smaller companies say, “By matter of practice, we’re just not going to go back, until everyone’s vaccinated.” To me, that implies everyone on their teams are willing to get vaccinated. And we won’t get into that today, because that’s not what any of us are here to talk about. That would take all day.

Jennifer Frisk:

But when you look at we get a survey, I think it’s every week, from our HR department saying, “Where are you?” I think everyone’s trying to gauge that piece of it, what people are comfortable with. And I don’t think there’s enough focus on mental health yet. I think it will be interesting to see when everyone actually is back to work. I know for the first time on our team we’ve been getting together once a week throughout most of this to try and stay connected. And for the first time ever, one of our team members was not feeling great. He had a cold, and normally he would have come into the office, and we probably all would have gotten sick. And we were like, “No. You stay home. Don’t feel bad. Don’t feel like you have to come in.” So I think that shift will impact mental health in a positive way of not feeling like you can’t just take a day off. I think the U.S. has not really done well with that mindset in big corporate America. So I think those are some easy parts of it.

Jennifer Frisk:

But as far as really diving into what people need from a mental health and wellness standpoint, I do think we have a ways to go. I’ve seen a lot of, obviously… and I’m sure you have to… investment and innovation in the space. So I do you think in the startup world, we are going to start to see a lot of resources coming out that people can, hopefully, rely on or companies can use for their employees. So I’m hopeful that we’re getting there, but I think everyone needs some help, and I think we’ll need to rely on some third-party resources that I think are in the works.

Daniel Cocca:

Quick question. Out of the clients that you work with how many of them are back in the office full steam or part steam? What’s the transition been like, and what do you expect? What should people think about over the next 3, 6, 12 months?

Jennifer Frisk:

So utilization in L.A. is right about 20% to 30%, if you look at office building. So it’s pretty low. If you look at other markets around the country, it is a little bit higher. We’ve got clients that have gone back in Vegas, they’ve gone back in Texas, they’ve gone back in…. like we were saying… in Chicago in Florida. And obviously those tied to those states’ stances on COVID, so that makes sense. L.A., I think we are all eyeing this June 15th date to see if that actually happens, if the city reopens, what that means. And obviously most of big tech, which tends to drive a lot of how we all make decisions these days in probably more ways than it should, many have said it’s either midsummer or Labor Day. Apple, Google, Amazon, have all started to come out with dates in those timeframes.

Jennifer Frisk:

So for the next three months… April, May, June, July into summer… I think it will be a continued slow let’s figure out who wants to come back, let’s figure out if people are getting vaccinated, let’s figure out what that looks. I think in the next six months taking us until after Labor Day, I think we will see a start of what this is going to look like on a going forward basis. So whatever this hybrid model is, I think you’ll start to see there’s going to be 10% of people that work from home forever, 10% that work in the office full time, probably around 75% that are in some sort of hybrid model. So I think we’ll start to see that develop.

Jennifer Frisk:

And then, nine months, one year, from now, my guess is people will start to find their stride, hopefully. I mean LAUSD has really bungled this whole school schedule things, so I know a lot of families here are struggling with school schedules and childcare. So, hopefully, kids are back in school on a normal basis in September. So that’s definitely a gating issue here. So I think that the next three months are going to be just a little bit anemic. We’ll start to get into our stride in 6. In 9 to 12, we probably got some semblance of what this whole thing looks for the new normal, as they call it.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Yeah, I was just thinking, “We’ll have you back in a year, and then we can talk about…” We’ve done that with a couple guests where it was last year at the beginning of COVID and coming back around. Because nothing went the way anybody expected, and so it’s so interesting now as things are starting… Symbolically, too, I guess, it’s springtime and you can really feel that coming through and people wanting to get out and all this pent up demand and this June 15 target for L.A… all of that. So it’ll be really interesting to see how that all pans out.

AdaPia d’Errico:

And so, what I wanted to do now is get into the final piece of the podcast and ask you just some questions we ask all of our guests. We’ve touched on a lot of the mental health stuff which was great, because, like we were saying, it’s so important that that’s come through. And I want to touch on wealth and wealth building and, specifically, what does wealth mean to you in your life?

Jennifer Frisk:

So look, I think there’s two parts to wealth, and I think part of it is, I’ll call it tangible wealth… supporting my family, being able to have a life that we all love and appreciate and that brings a lot of joy. And for me, that includes traveling and being able to have a flexible work schedule and being able to provide for those things and while doing those things. So I think tangible wealth, obviously, is one piece of it.

Jennifer Frisk:

And I don’t know woo-woo the audience that’s listening is. AdaPia, I know we’ve talked about this. But, look, the other piece of wealth for me is manifesting my dreams, be it in a work environment, in a built environment. To me, space is very tangible, so I can see a real return on that which I like. But also being able to really understand that we all can impact our life directly just by putting it out there, whether it’s wanting a different office environment or wanting a new house or wanting to understand ourselves spiritually… whatever that is.

Jennifer Frisk:

So for me, I break down wealth into two parts. I’ll call it lifestyle tangible wealth and then spiritual wealth, which can mean all kinds of things, but for me, it’s be a big focus the last couple of years…. and something that COVID gave, I think, a lot of us a lot of space to discover, if we hadn’t already, and maybe a little bit more support and just focus. It’s a bigger part of the conversation than I’ve ever been. So to me, that’s really exciting.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Yeah, I agree. I think I definitely have seen that with COVID, this return inside for everybody. It really caused people to look inside, maybe for the first time in their lives, and see outside of themselves what was going on so unconsciously, because the world was running with that’s just the way it was. And I remember thinking, “I can’t see how this is ever going to change.” And then it all was a full stop. And then, all of a sudden, we were all with ourselves and just being able to really go in there. And what I’ve noticed, too, in a lot of conversations… and I’m sure you have, too… is a bit of a return to meaning and what’s meaningful to us and then how do we express that meaning and it can be expressed through your work. And I know for you, it really seems you found meaning in what you do and it’s applied meaning. So it’s the application of, we can call them spiritual, personal values, into a very tangible form that has a positive impact on other people.

Jennifer Frisk:

Yeah, I think it’s been nice to blend the two worlds, and I think like anything, the more you put out there, the more you realize people are either appreciative of or looking for this missing pieces of so many people’s puzzles or they’re already they’re on their own path. But I think the currency of human nature really has changed in the last 13 months. I think what was important 13 months ago, many of it’s still important, but I think just what we value and what employers value and what families value is probably a little bit different. And I hope that we don’t just go back to what it was before. I think we’re in this unique time of being able to look forward and make real change as opposed to looking back and just going back to the office and doing the same old thing.

Jennifer Frisk:

I was on a run the other morning, and there were a lot less walkers. I was like, “Oh. Well, I hope not everyone’s given up their fresh air and their morning walks. I hope everyone’s still walking.” But I think the currency has changed, and I think it’ll be interesting to see how we all stick with that and all of these new found values many of us have proclaimed, when it’s easier to get distracted again. So we’ll see.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Yeah, very true. Well, I hope so, too. I hope that the changes that get implemented are so beneficial in our personal experience of work and everything that one wants work to accomplish, even for the employer. And so, hopefully, it sticks, because it works, because there’s an effectiveness to it that it can be tied to productivity, but it’s because from the personal place, it’s a place of, “I want to do this, because I feel good here, because I have a different relationship with my employer, I have a better relationship with the space, with my time, with my life.” And so, I know that that’s my hope going forward, as you’re saying.

Jennifer Frisk:

Well, I think that ties it all together. We’ve talked about how built space can give back. So you’re spending all this money on it. If people can be truly happy, you’re going to get returns in other ways. You’re going to save money on turnover. You’re going to keep people longer. The average Gen Z definition of loyalty may go from 12 months, which is what it is now, hopefully to five years or something. So I think it really gives companies the ability to see returns in other areas. And if people are feeling good, I think there’s so much more we can all do with that energy and that space, so why not go do it?

AdaPia d’Errico:

I love it. I love it. Well, Jennifer, thank you so much for being with us today, for sharing all these insights. It’s so interesting and it’s very optimistic, and I hope that everybody will take that away and also take away those who have companies who are thinking about going back to the office, really be thinking about this and how that can be implemented. We’re gonna include links in the show notes to where people can contact you if they want to. I know you have your design company. YOu have Newmark. You have so many amazing things going on, so we’ll include all of those links. And, again, just huge gratitude for you. Thank you so much for coming on today.

Jennifer Frisk:

Thank you guys so much for having me.

AdaPia d’Errico:

Thanks for tuning in to Real Wealth Real Health. We hope that you’ve enjoyed today’s episode and found it both informative and insightful. We welcome all your questions and your feedback about today’s episode, and especially, we welcome your questions about specific topics that you would like us to cover. So shoot us an email at [email protected] And if you have a moment, we really appreciate ratings and reviews, as it helps us grow our online community and our interactions with you. And we’ll also be linking to a number of relevant articles on topics that we might have touched on during our conversations. Some of them are broad, some of them are technical, but we’re always aiming to provide information that helps you better understand the mechanics of building this healthy financial foundation, especially if you’re looking to do this with real estate.