The Future of The Office: Home Is Not Where The Office Is


As we look forward to 2021 and beyond, there are more questions than answers surrounding the future of the office sector. Do tenants need more or less office space? Will employees want to return to the office? How often are corporations going to require staff to come into work? Can the challenges of remote working be overcome? What are temporary headwinds and what trends are here to stay for the long-term?

  • Thus far, the U.S. office market remains relatively resilient throughout the pandemic, primarily due to the long-term nature of office leases and overall creditworthiness of corporate tenants benefitting from a resilient stock market and government stimulus.
  • COVID-19 did not destroy the office sector, but there are challenges ahead.
  • The abundance of sublease space will have a chilling effect on near-term rent growth.
  • Should physical distancing protocols remain in place, tenants may need to keep their same footprint, even if part of the staff works from home some days.
  • The case for returning to the office primarily stems from the desire to foster a company’s creativity, culture, career development, communication and collaboration, which will be difficult to accomplish in a work-from-home environment.
  • Landlords and tenants’ management alike will need to adapt quickly to ensure they provide an environment where employees want to collaborate and can maximize efficiency. By providing employees with collaborative, safe environments, companies will be able to recognize the value of office expenditures.

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Office KPIs

Office KPIs
Office KPIs
Office KPIs

Before diving into near-term headwinds and long-term trends, it is important to look back at how the office sector has performed up to this point. When the first official COVID-19 case hit the U.S. in January 2020, few would have imagined the U.S. would lose 22 million jobs by April and end the longest economic expansion in U.S. history. More than one-third of jobs lost were in the leisure and hospitality sector (37.9%), whereas just 7.6% of the jobs lost were held by office users (Figure 1). In many areas, eviction moratoriums were put in place and landlords had to wade into untested legal waters, using active asset management, to find common ground with tenants through lease modifications.

Fig. 1 – Employment Change QOQ

Fig. 1 - Employment Change QOQ
Fig. 1 - Employment Change QOQ

In order to support the economy, the Fed lowered rates to 0.00%-0.25% for only the second time in history, which consequently improved corporate balance sheets and boosted the stock market. In fact, the Dow and Nasdaq rose over 60% and 85%, respectively, from March to December ending the year up 4% and 32%, respectively, from the pre-COVID peak in February despite U.S. unemployment reaching a record of 14.8% (Figure 2). In addition to large companies garnering support from the stock market, small businesses were also supported by Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans. As part of the PPP loan program, tenants could use up to 25% of their loans to pay their rent. When combining tenants’ buoyed balance sheets with the long-term nature of office leases – typically 5-10 years – many landlords have had enough cash flow to get by.

Fig. 2 – Unemployment Rate

Unemployment Rate
Unemployment Rate
Despite many tenants paying rent due to stimulus and overall market strength, physical occupancy is low to non-existent today. On their October 2020 earnings call, SL Green, based in New York City, reported that just 15-20% of tenants returned to their offices, acknowledging the previous projection — 50% physical occupancy after Labor Day — was overly optimistic. Looking at a more national scale, Kastle Systems’ “Back to Work Barometer,” based on entry card swipes in 10 major cities, found office occupancy was 24.8% for the week of March 8th. Although still muted demand, this is a significant rise from two weeks prior (15%).

Even with the additional stimulus, corporations are not immune to the economic downturn and have put a pause on leasing due to the uncertainty of when they will return to the office and what their space needs will be when they do return. According to CoStar, annual leasing velocity totaled 270 million square feet in 2020. That total was a 40% drop from 2019 and nearly 15% lower than the trough during the GFC in 2009. Office demand posted its worst drop in 20 years, with the vacancy rate rising by 140 bps in 2020, and annual asking rent growth dropping to -1.2%. The avalanche of sublet space on the market contributed to the rent declines as those spaces are often discounted upwards of 20% compared to direct rents. During the GFC, forward-looking firms took advantage of steep rent cuts to either move up to higher quality space that had been unaffordable or lock-in early renewals at highly discounted prices. This time, if tenants are not facing an imminent lease expiration, they are reluctant to lock up their current space by renewing – even at a potential discount. This trend is highlighted by the count of office lease renewals decreasing by 40% from 2019 to 2020.1 Many tenants are still evaluating the cost-savings versus the culture-erosion dynamic brought about by the work-from-home experiment. Few have been willing to spend capital on major redesigns of their office space, as there still is not full clarity as to whether the layouts and designs preferred pre-COVID will be sanctioned and still functional in 12, 24 or 36 months. Tenants across the world seem to want shorter leases, and that trend may be here to stay. In Hong Kong, an average office lease lasts three years. In the U.K., it’s six. In the U.S., it fell 15% in the first five months of 2020 to seven years and it’s likely to fall farther, according to JLL. With less contracted cash flow, large TI buildouts that have been common in recent years may no longer be economical. Landlords will need to rethink concessions in general and rework their business plans to allow for more frequent turnover.

At the forefront of many landlord’s thoughts is what all of these shifts in office demand, lease structure and desired office layout and use will have on asset prices. At this point, the outlook is hazy as the lack of office trades since the start of the pandemic has limited price discovery. The annual investment volume total in the U.S. office sector, at $72.9 billion, was the lowest since the aftermath of the GFC in 2011. The 2020 total was also nearly 34% lower than the annual average over the previous five years. The picture would be even worse if not for the $30 billion worth of assets that traded hands during the first quarter of 2020, which represented 42% of the annual total. As that was the highest first-quarter total since the peak of 2007, an argument could have been made that the U.S. may have approached a record year for office transactions – if not for the arrival of the pandemic at the end of the quarter (Figure 3).2

Fig. 3 – Total U.S. Sales Volume

Total U.S. Sales Volume
Total U.S. Sales Volume

Temporarily depressed top-line income or cap rate expansion may be offset by the fact that office supply has slowed down. Currently only 150 million square feet of U.S. office space, or less than 2% of total stock, remains under construction with many proposed projects put on pause (Figure 4).

Fig. 4 – U.S. Office Under Construction

Office Under Construction
Office Under Construction

Despite this low supply, strong corporate balance sheets, and the long-term nature of office leases, the U.S. office sector faces several near-term challenges.

The ability to work from home, a glut of sublet space, and widespread job loss are just a few near-term headwinds that are weakening office fundamentals.

COVID-19 regulations forced many companies utilizing office space to implement work from home (WFH) policies for their non-essential workers at the beginning of 2020. WFH has been around for years but had been slow to catch on. Employers’ lack of general trust that workers could consistently be productive at home and the lack of widely available high-speed internet at employee homes contributed to the slow adoption of widespread WFH before 2020. Some well-reported attempts to implement widescale WFH programs were reversed when they observed that their company culture and innovation had suffered. For example, IBM started WFH in 2017 (yet it quickly ended), and Yahoo banned WFH in 2013. In 2020, WFH was deemed more successful and productive than in the past, largely due to the fact that most companies were forced to implement and learn to use new teleconferencing tools and advanced information technology systems. Zillow, Twitter, Square, Facebook, Coinbase, Dropbox, Spotify, and Nationwide are just a few companies that have announced plans to have employees work from home indefinitely.

Working from home provides employees with flexibility and reduces rental costs and office supply spend. According to CBRE, people increasingly want to work remotely and competition for talent will likely take place over the battlegrounds of not just flexible work policies, but also flexible work support such as stipends, home office equipment, and technologies. PWC conducted a survey of 1,200 U.S. office workers and over half of employees (55%) say they would like to be remote at least three days a week and almost a third (29%) prefer full-time remote work (Figure 5). In contrast, when asked how they feel about remote work at their company, 43% of executives prefer limited schedules or want to be fully back in the office as soon as feasible. In comparison, only 24% expect many or all office employees to work remotely for a significant amount of time. There is certainly a disconnect between executive and employee WFH expectations that will be ironed out over time. Remote work and flexibility are likely here to stay in some capacity, but so is the office sector. Over the next three years, while some of those executives expect to reduce office space, 56% expect to need more.3

Fig. 5 – How Often Would You Want to Work Remotely After COVID-19 is No Longer a Concern?

Remote Work
Remote Work
Tenants’ office space needs and the ability to work from home indefinitely will vary by industry as well as differing executive preferences. For example, there are those like Netflix founder Reed Hastings who recently expressed that he sees “no positives from staff working from home.”4 But most can agree, office absorption will inevitably look much different once jobs return. The U.S. office-using industries lost 2.9 million jobs in March and April and are slowly recovering those jobs. Cushman and Wakefield estimates that it will take about two more years to get all those jobs back, keeping demand for space below pre-downturn levels. Furthermore, a recent Mercer employer survey found that 83% of companies plan to allow more people to work from home on the other side of the pandemic.5 Even as the economy adds back jobs, it is unlikely that we will see the same office absorption rates that we saw in the past cycle. In fact, current estimates peg the impact of working from home on office demand between 3-17% over the next decade.6

This shift to remote work and job losses in general caused a domino effect and created another headwind – a skyrocketing amount of sublet space. The amount of sublease space on the market surpassed 190 million square feet, an increase of nearly 70 million square feet from the start of 2020.7 The flood of sublet space on the market contributed to the rent declines as those spaces are often discounted upwards of 20% compared to direct rents. From a market perspective, gateway markets saw the largest change in available sublet space over the year with Boston and San Francisco seeing the largest increase of 137% and 126%, respectively (Figure 6).8 For example, Pinterest paid $90 million to break their 490,000 square foot lease in San Francisco. But the trend also applies to suburban traditional tenants like State Farm, who put their entire 340,000 square foot regional office in Concordville, Pennsylvania up for sublease as they are planning to move to a permanent work-from-home strategy. The office sector will have difficulty pushing rents with this flood of available space hitting the market at discounted rates in the near-term.

Fig. 6 – Change in Available Sublet Space YoY

Sublet Space Change
Sublet Space Change
Despite these near-term headwinds, there are many reasons to be optimistic that tenants will return to the office. COVID-19 accelerated the trend for WFH, but it has also revealed its limitations. The office is more than a place to work – the benefits of working together face-to-face remain critical for innovation, work quality, productivity, relationship building, company values, and professional development. Working remotely may generally dampen productivity and mental health. In fact, Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase, says he sees economic and social damage from the long stretch of working from home due to COVID-19.9

The main reasons many tenants will keep an office footprint is because of the “Five Cs”: Creativity, Culture, Career Development, Communication and Collaboration. The “when” will depend on each company’s and industry’s sensitivity to the impact of all or a few of the “Five Cs.”


Creativity is crucial to a corporation’s success. Companies like Google and Red Bull spend millions of dollars trying to unleash creativity to spur innovation.10 For instance, Google encourages their employee to spend 20% of their time looking toward creative, larger projects. Red Bull’s Hacking Creativity study brought together over 30,000 high-performing athletes, entrepreneurs, artists and professionals to attempt to better understand how to cultivate creativity. McKinsey found that if we could increase the time we spend in the “flow (creative) state,” overall workplace productivity would almost double.11 Unfortunately, the ability to have free-flowing conversations to explore creativity has been significantly reduced due to COVID-19. Brainstorming and creative ideation processes have definitely suffered in the eyes of remote workers, with nearly one in four (22%) saying that working from home has hurt their creativity and one in four managers (26%) agreeing. Both groups lay the blame on the isolation that can sometimes occur from a workforce being separated. Of the remote workers who felt less creative while working from home, 46% cited less facetime with their team as a reason, 44% said they felt like they were working in a bubble and didn’t know what their colleagues were doing, and 40% said it was harder to collaborate with their team on calls. On the management side, nearly one in four (22%) said the drop-off in creativity was because they no longer had access to the visual brainstorming as a team that fosters creative ideas.12 Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai said “we firmly believe that in-person, being together, having that sense of community, is super important for whenever you have to solve hard problems, you have to create something new. So, we don’t see that changing, so we don’t think the future is just 100% remote or something.”13


Howard Stevenson, Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, once said “maintaining an effective culture is so important that it, in fact, trumps even strategy.”14 Most large companies describe their official corporate culture in terms of the values they want employees to practice on a day-to-day basis. The emphasis on culture to attract and maintain talent continues to become more important. Gallup data shows that even without being forced to work virtually, about 60% of employees (virtual or not) cannot fully agree that they know what their company stands for. Employees who work virtually are even more disconnected from core values – remote employees are 7% less likely to see their connection to the mission of the company.15 Some companies have attempted to be creative with virtual team bonding activities and regular check-ins, however nothing replaces face-to-face interactions and observations.

Career Development

An employee’s level of experience plays a large role in their preference to return to the office. In the PWC survey, respondents with the least amount of professional experience (0-5 years) are more likely to want to be in the office more often. Thirty percent of them prefer being remote no more than one day a week vs. just 20% of all respondents. The least experienced workers are also more likely to feel less productive while working remotely (34% vs. 23%).16 Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon repeated his desire to see the firm’s offices fill up again, noting that the current flexible work-from-home scenario is not ideal. He said, “I am very focused on the fact that I don’t want another class of young people arriving at Goldman Sachs in the summer remotely.” Less experienced employees are going to want facetime with colleagues and executives to listen and learn. Executives want a pulse on all the various departments, control outputs, and want to visually witness productivity. Middle-level employees value flexibility and are the least likely cohort to want to return to the office. However, if employees want opportunities to advance their careers, they will ultimately return. Research shows that managers who cannot “see” their direct reports sometimes struggle to trust that their employees are indeed working. When such doubts creep in, managers can start to develop an unreasonable expectation that those team members be available at all times, ultimately disrupting their work-life balance and causing more job stress.17


There is a common saying that COVID-19 accelerated pre-existing trends. If communication was lacking in an office prior to COVID-19, then the pandemic escalated that trend. Colleagues have to overcommunicate in a time where visibility is lacking. While teleconferencing tools have made this unprecedented shift to remote work feasible, “Zoom Fatigue” is wearing on people after a year. Nothing replaces an in-person conversation. If a company chooses a hybrid model, communication will be even more of a necessity. Many conversations will happen organically around the office and if a colleague is remote, they may feel left out of the conversation or even the company. To provide an analogy, it would be very similar to if your entire team were to go into an office and close the door. In their 4Q Earnings Call, Zillow announced they are adopting a hybrid model of work, but its CEO says it’s trying to prevent one major downside: a ‘two-class system’ where those who come into the office are viewed as better employees. Additionally, Sid Sijbrandij, CEO of code-collaboration firm GitLab, described a hybrid model as “the worst of both worlds.” Sijbrandij warned that remote employees won’t feel included and will have a more challenging time communicating than their peers who report to the office. Whether companies choose remote work or a hybrid approach, remote communication will continue to be second rate to in-office conversations.


As the sudden lockdown measures and the ensuing surge in home-office work took hold, opportunities for serendipitous interactions among colleagues have come to a dramatic halt. Collaboration is a clear area of focus in distributed workforces. As noted previously, a full 75% of remote employees who expressed concerns about working from home ranked team collaboration as the aspect of their work that’s suffered the most. One of the most telling indicators of collaboration’s importance is the fact that nearly one in five (17%) remote workers report meeting with their colleagues in person against company protocol over the past few months.18 While some may enjoy the flexibility of work from home, there is a desire to renew human contact – employees are craving that interaction beyond a Zoom screen. Organizations like IBM, Yahoo, Aetna and others have experimented in the past with virtual cultures and later abandoned them, concluding that the benefits to in-person collaboration were too valuable to forgo and the risks of virtual working were too great to take on.

Creativity, Culture, Career Development, Communication and Collaboration are imperative to the framework of any company. The office sector has the acknowledged headwind of remote work, but office demand will likely return as WFH ultimately cannot replace the in-office “Five Cs.”

When office demand returns, tenants’ space needs may look different. Similar to the speed of business, landlords and tenants alike will need to adapt quickly to ensure they provide an environment where employees want to collaborate and are able to maximize efficiency. Just like the retail sector had to adapt to and embrace e-commerce, the office sector will need to learn to accommodate COVID-19’s disruption of the space.

Most executives (87%) expect to make changes to their real estate strategy over the next 12 months, according to PWC. These plans include consolidating office space in premier locations and/or opening more satellite locations. Over the next three years, while some executives expect to reduce office space, 56% expect to need more. These mixed findings show that some companies are planning to reinvest the remote work dividend in new ways in order to create a special experience in the office (Figure 7).

Fig. 7 – What Changes are Executives Making to Their Real Estate Strategy?

Remote Work Survey
Remote Work Survey

As we look to 2021 and beyond, there will likely be trends toward a flight to quality and de-densification of the office. There will be changes to what we consider personal vs. collaborative space and to which amenities are highly valued. These trends will widely vary based on location, industry, tenant, space use and culture. Offices located in suburban areas not dependent on public transportation or high-rise elevator systems are more likely to reach peak occupancy than dense CBD office buildings. Additionally, more business-friendly markets with less restrictions will likely see a quicker return. To illustrate this point, Kastle Systems’ “Back to Work Barometer,” based on entry card swipes in major cities, found Dallas, Houston, and Austin top the list as the most open cities, with occupancy rates of 36.9%, 36.7%, and 35.8%, respectively. Four cities — Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., San Jose and New York — are still experiencing slight declines in occupancy rates as of early March and the least open city is San Francisco, at 13.7% (Figure 8). Besides location, the pace and scale of returning to the office will also vary within business sectors based on the individual company culture. For instance, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon says “I do think for a business like ours, which is an innovative, collaborative apprenticeship culture, this is not ideal for us. And it’s not a new normal. It’s an aberration that we’re going to correct as soon as possible.” Whereas Deutsche Bank is weighing a new policy that would allow most employees to permanently work from home two days a week. Even within companies, there may be roles that can be remote and others that require being in the office. All of these changes to space needs will lead to new lease agreements upon renewal and require experienced asset management.

Fig. 8 – Physical Occupancy by Market

Physical Occupancy by Market
Physical Occupancy by Market

The “Flight to Quality” trend was occurring long before the pandemic. In order to create an environment where employees will be enticed to return to the office, tenants will want LEED and WELL certifications, newer HVAC systems, and the locations closest to where their talent wants to live. Low-quality, outdated, high-rise office buildings will likely struggle to attract and retain tenants. However, this creates a value-add opportunity for owners to renovate and even qualify for ESG certifications, which has been an increased initiative for many investors.

Space needs will vary by industries, individual companies and their remote work policies. A tenant may need more space if they plan to de-densify their employee’s space or potentially less space if they have a portion of their employees work from home. When looking at CoStar’s occupied office square feet and dividing it by Oxford Economics’ office-using employment, the space per employee has been steadily shrinking since the GFC (Figure 9). Companies have been squeezing more and more people onto floorplans, getting as low as 240 SF/employee on a national scale, although 50-100/SF per employee is more common in sectors like Wall Street in Manhattan. COVID-19 will immediately push companies in the other direction, needing more space per employee. “Bullpens” and “Amoebas” style offices will likely start reverting to more personal space for employees. We have already started seeing this jump in recent quarters due to job layoffs but also due to space need changes. The emphasis on health and well-being in the workplace has accelerated during the pandemic and is engrained in the employee consciousness. As an example, the way people carry around hand sanitizer is habitual now. Beyond requirements for personal new cleanliness norms, workstations and conference rooms will likely continue to be reconfigured to allow for greater separation between employees. To attract and retain the best talent, some firms will have to change their previous ways of packing employees in and instead give them more elbow room to make the office experience more comfortable. The modern office needs to be relevant as the next best alternative is an employees’ home.

Fig. 9 – SF per Employee

SF by Employee
SF by Employee

CBRE defines this trend as “Me vs. We Space” (Figure 10). In order to influence employees to use the office as their destination of choice, tenants will rethink what their offices can deliver that is unique compared to the experience of working remote. The office’s purpose will be to provide a venue for community, culture and collaboration. Employers will look more closely at the type of work being done in the space and the composition of the office will adjust to reflect this.

Fig. 10 – “Me” vs. “We” Space

Types of Office Space
In addition to new space needs, tenants will also look for amenities of the future. Where employees once valued an amenity like a ping pong table, now they will most likely value enhanced cleaning protocols, advanced HVAC systems, and more space. Some companies have provided branded coolers and box lunches versus the use of the kitchen and shared lunches. According to Eastdil Secured, landlords are offering tenants concessions, in the form of new amenity access, as a means to drive office occupancy. These items can include free access to coworking space, discounted access to nearby retailers (food shops, nail salons), discounted grocery and meal delivery, discounted commuting through Uber or parking incentives. Some employers are trying a new strategy to motivate key workers to return to the office: personal perks. Companies are utilizing wellbeing incentives including free childcare, personal therapy, home design consulting, mandatory work weeks off and financial planning services as carrots to bring workers back.

Coworking could be a solution to gain more flexibility of future office space needs. While recent headlines surrounding WeWork and Knotel are not overly positive, the concept has existed for decades and has recently grown to account for ~2% of U.S. office space. Green Street estimates 10% of total U.S. office space will be in some form of flex office by 2030, with the majority of that coming from enterprise tenants, a single tenant on flexible lease. Firms like CBRE are bullish on coworking outlook demonstrated by the 40% stake in Industrious and the creation of Hana, an in-house flexible space provider. According to their website, CBRE believes “that flexible space can be a compelling option within a corporate real estate strategy. The flexible space market is established and growing rapidly, and property owners are looking for flex solutions from a knowledgeable, investment-grade service provider.”19 There are many drivers that could influence flex office growth in the long term, with a wide range of outcomes on office demand (Figure 11). The potential net impact boils down to whether the continued aggregation of independent workers and remote workers spur more demand than what gets cannibalized by corporate users switching to more densely formatted flexible space. In the near-term, coworking providers are expected to be under pressure. This model was built on open-plan design with the intention of socialization and interaction, which is not productive with current social distancing protocols.

Fig. 11 – Weighted Average Number of Days in Office

weighted average days in office
weighted average days in office

Although the news is filled with announcements of permanent work from home strategies, what many of these companies are saying is contradictory to their actions.

Although these companies are making public statements about work from home, it seems they are preparing for a future that is in-office and taking advantage of the dip in office fundamentals. The world will someday return to normal. The ultimate impact on warranted headwinds will likely be short-lived.

Europe’s return to the office presented a hopeful outlook for the office sector, before the second lockdown. In Morgan Stanley’s AlphaWise analysis, almost three-quarters of E.U. white-collar employees were commuting again (68%) in July 2020. French companies have led the charge to bring their teams back to the workplace, as 83% of French office staff returned, followed by Spain, Italy and Germany, with about three-quarters (around 75%) heading back in.20

Additionally, the rollout of vaccines is raising confidence in returning to the office. Uncertainties remain about how to bring employees back safely, whether it will be safe for them to travel for work, as well as how to align workforce scheduling with schools reopening. Tenants and landlords should develop a strategy that helps meet their goals while also addressing employee safety expectations and the need for increased flexibility. Employees are likely to expect to work in less densely configured spaces and to seek assurances that health checks are being made.21

Active asset management will be imperative to work through these uncertain times. The challenge is to get tenants back in the office safely and asset management is needed to be agile as tenants will have rapidly changing needs. In the words of Michael Baracco, a Bellwether Asset Management Principal, “now, more than ever, we need to be focused on tenant relationships and attuned to market intel. Landlords will need to be somewhat reactive in the near-term. However, as employees return and trends are solidified, proactive asset management to best position buildings to meet the differing needs of tenants will lead to long-term success.”

Many questions around the office sector will not be answered immediately and demand will likely come back gradually with space needs varying widely by individual companies. While there are certainly headwinds for the office sector in the near-term, the need for office continues to evolve and will not disappear. History indicates humans typically have short-term memories for overlookable challenges. Office demand will come back but may evolve and look different as we head into 2021 and beyond. No Zoom meeting can replace the in-person office experience with regards to creativity, culture, career development, communication and collaboration.


1 CoStar, Lease Comps, March 2021

2 CoStar, Analytics, March 2021

3 PWC, Remote Work Survey, January 2021

4 Wall Street Journal, Netflix’s Reed Hastings Deems Remote Work ‘a Pure Negative’, September 2020

5 Society for Human Resource Management, Study Finds Productivity Not Deterred by Shift to Remote Work, September 2020

6 Cushman and Wakefield, The Edge Volume 5, February 2021

7 CoStar, Analytics, March 2021

8 CoStar, Analytics, December 2020

9 Bloomberg, Dimon Sees ‘Carrots and Sticks’ Approach to COVID Vaccines, March 2021

10 Stealing Fire by Jamie Wheal and Steven Kotler, published February 2017

11 Harvard Business Review, Create a Work Environment That Fosters Flow, October 2019

12 Lucidspark, How collaboration and creativity are suffering in the wake of COVID-19, September 2020

13 Business Insider, Google is allowing employees back on campus for outdoor-only meetings because remote isn’t always enough, December 2020

14 Harvard Business Review, When to Fire a Top Performer Who Hurts Your Company Culture, October 2012

15 Gallup, Remote Work: Is It a Virtual Threat to Your Culture, August 2020

16 PWC, Remote Work Survey, January 2021

17 Harvard Business Review, Remote Managers Are Having Trust Issues, July 2020

18 Lucidspark, How collaboration and creativity are suffering in the wake of COVID-19, September 2020

19 CBRE, Flexible Space Solutions, March 2021

20 The Guardian, UK office workers slower to return to their desk after COVID, August 2020

21 PWC, U.S. Remote Work Survey, March 2021

Dennis Grzeskowiak


Mr. Grzeskowiak co-founded Bellwether in 2013 and has 20 years of experience in asset management and special servicing. At Bellwether, Mr. Grzeskowiak focuses on portfolio management and technology initiatives, with particular asset management expertise in debt as well as multifamily equity investments totaling over 33k units. Prior to forming Bellwether, he was Vice President of Asset Management at Trimont Real Estate Advisors, where he was responsible for a $2bn portfolio of performing and non-performing commercial real estate investments related to multiple property types throughout the United States. During his time at Trimont, Mr. Grzeskowiak developed a proprietary valuation cash flow model used to analyze over $30bn of debt and equity investments. Mr. Grzeskowiak has a B.A. in Economics and International Studies from Rhodes College.

Joe Mossotti


Mr. Mossotti co-founded Bellwether in 2013 and currently focuses on residential, corporate, development and hotel investments throughout the United States. Prior to founding Bellwether, he worked in the Asset Management / Portfolio Management group at JER Partners, a Washington D.C. based private equity firm. At JER, he was responsible for investment- and fund- level modeling as well as the disposition and workout of the remaining portfolio. Before joining JER, Mr. Mossotti worked at Billy Casper Golf Management. Mr. Mossotti holds a B.S. in Finance from Siena College, and is a licensed CPA.

Mitch Magoshi

Managing Director, Construction

Mr. Magoshi joined Bellwether Asset Management in 2018 after 15 years of experience in the construction industry. Prior to joining Bellwether, he most recently worked as a senior consultant with Gardiner & Theobald, Inc., an international construction project and cost management firm. Before joining G&T, Mr. Magoshi was a Construction Manager and Partner at Plant Construction Company, L.P., a leading general contractor in the San Francisco Bay Area. At Plant, he was involved in all aspects of the construction process from business development and preconstruction to project management and site supervision. Mr. Magoshi holds a B.S. degree in Business Administration with a minor in Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University.

Omar Vargas

Senior Vice President, Controller

Mr. Vargas joined Bellwether Asset Management, Inc. in 2018 and has over 15 years of professional experience. Prior to joining Bellwether, he was the Corporate Controller at Landmark Dividend LLC, a Los Angeles based real estate company. At Landmark Dividend, he was responsible for all aspects of the accounting, financial reporting, and asset management functions. Before joining Landmark Dividend, Mr. Vargas was an Audit Senior Manager at Deloitte, where he was responsible for overseeing various teams on real estate advisory services. Mr. Vargas holds a B.S. in Accounting from California State University, Long Beach, and is a licensed CPA.

Carolyn Leslie

Managing Director, Equity

Ms. Leslie joined Bellwether in August 2020 and is primarily responsible for the asset management of west coast office investments.  She has twenty years of commercial real estate investment experience, most recently as the Director of Asset Management at Atlas Capital Group, a New York based owner and developer, and oversaw the redevelopment of ROW DTLA.  Before joining Atlas Capital Group, she was at Watt Companies as a Senior Asset Manager responsible for an office, retail and multifamily portfolio.  Ms. Leslie has a B.A in economics from Vanderbilt University and an M.B.A from Pepperdine University’s Graziadio Business School.

Patrick Foley


Mr. Foley joined Bellwether in 2014 and is currently responsible for coverage of corporate, development and residential investments in the United States. Prior to joining Bellwether, he was an associate at Cross Properties, a Philadelphia based multifamily developer. Mr. Foley has a B.S. in Economics with a concentration in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Benjamin Easton

Managing Director, Equity

Mr. Easton joined Bellwether in April 2014, after having spent two years at NMS Properties, a Los Angeles based multifamily company. Prior experience includes two years at Mesa West Capital, a Los Angeles based commercial real estate finance company. Mr. Easton began his career in Los Angeles working in brokerage in 2007. He holds a B.A. degree in International Business from Loyola Marymount University.

David Chalison


Mr. Chalison joined Bellwether in 2016 and is responsible for supporting portfolio management functions for Bellwether’s institutional clients. Prior to joining Bellwether, he was Director of FP&A at Chronos Solutions, a Texas-based mortgage service company. Mr. Chalison received a B.S. in Finance from Santa Clara University and holds an M.B.A. from Loyola Marymount University.

Chris Carlson

Senior Vice President, Structured Finance

Mr. Carlson joined Bellwether Asset Management in July 2014 and is currently a Senior Vice President responsible for the performing residential whole loan strategy. He has fourteen years of experience in structured products and the secondary mortgage market. Prior to joining Bellwether, he was a risk analyst with Western Asset Management, where he was responsible for analytics on a $50bn portfolio of whole loans, structured mortgage products and private corporate investments. Mr. Carlson began his career as a member of the Fannie Mae Analyst program in 2005. He has an M.B.A. from UCLA Anderson and a B.A. in Economics and Philosophy from Washington & Lee University.

Michael Baracco


Mr. Baracco has been a part of Bellwether since its inception and is currently responsible for asset management coverage of office and hotel investments. Prior to joining Bellwether, he was a Senior Project Engineer at Lockheed Martin Corp. where he supported and ensured successful execution of multi-billion dollar contracts including satellites, flight modernization systems, and submarines. Mr. Baracco has an M.B.A. from the University of Denver and a B.S. in Physics from Washington & Lee University.