Musings over the "death of office" post-COVID-19 are likely overblownat least according to a panel of experts convened by Trepp recently to discuss the sector's path forward.

Instead, office employment will likely pick up while office use moderates, achieving a balancing effect, said Glenn Mueller, a professor at the University of Denver. And what's more, the sector experienced something of a "pendulum swing" over the course of the pandemic: prior to COVID, the industry had just seen intense "densification" of office space, as distance between desks shrank and co-working heated up. But as Dr. Tori Kerr, managing director at Hines, noted in the Trepp call, the metrics of square feet per employee in a typical office setting doesn't compute with post-COVID density comfort of requirements. 

The experts on the call agreed by that by January 2022, the pendulum may swing back to neutral. "We likely won't see a return to the far side of densification within an office space, but we also likely won't see a full swing the opposite way to the elimination of the office altogether," Trepp analysts noted in a report summarizing the panel.  

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