Demand for office space all but dried up in 2020 due to COVID-19, as companies adopted flexible work-from-home policies en masse.  And while hard data about the future of the sector remains elusive – as most tenants have chosen to delay making decisions about office re-entry until at least the middle of this year – it’s clear that many companies intend to make distributed work a more permanent reality, whether through hub-and-spoke or hybrid models. 

In a new report, JLL predicts that corporate urban-to-suburban moves will remain limited in 2021, and that leading occupiers will likely find they don’t need to choose a purely urban or suburban strategy as they analyze talent demand and space needs. The real winners over the next 36 months will be Sun Belt and Mountain West submarkets, which JLL estimates will outperform gateway cities in office absorption and rent growth as companies relocate offices and adopt more distributed work models.

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