Is the trend towards working from already starting to fade? Possibly according to Morgan Stanley.
The investment bank’s monthly survey on working from home trends showed an uptick in people working at home due to new COVID-19 restrictions but there was a decline in the desire to stay away as ‘lockdown fatigue’ sets in.
The average number of days that office workers want to WFH. has dipped to around 2.0 days a week from 2.3 previously, possibly due to the imposition of second lockdowns across Europe.
Average days at home during the week rose slightly to 2.1 days due to the additional COVID-19 restrictions though the UK remained the place where WFH was strongest.
Including Europe, the average was 56% of working hours spent in the office though this dropped to 39% in the UK.
Morgan Stanley added that 60% of office workers believe they will be allowed to work between 1-2 days per week at home going forward.
Around 58% of workers have been WFH across Europe during the COVID-19 outbreak said Morgan Stanley, with the figure higher at 70% for office staff.
Office workers added that the main reason they are at home is that they have to been told to be by their employer.
From an investment perspective, the bank notes that share prices of property companies focused on offices have risen by 22% in the past month due to vaccine news.
Even so, the gap between market share prices and underlying asset values remains wide on average but Morgan Stanley advises potential investors stick either the best economies or nimble operators with strong balance sheets such as Great Portland Estates PLC (LON:GPOR) or Derwent London PLC (LON:DLN).