CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – Are you one of those people who has been forced to work at home because of the pandemic? Some people say they like remote working and hope they can continue doing it. Others, like those with office space for lease, have another opinion.
Many employers and employees have embraced all the advantages and challenges that go along with working from home, but office buildings still need to be used – somehow.
“The space market or just office space for rent in the market is, I think we’re in a recession here in West Virginia as a whole and I think that can be directly related to the COVID and the pandemic,” Duke Jordan, Commercial Realtor for Berkshire Hathaway said.
Jordan says the pandemic has put a strain on a lot of the larger office buildings throughout the city. Companies have sent people like Keith Smith home during the pandemic. Smith, who worked from home for a few months, says he could get used to tele-commuting to work permanently.
“I have quite a commute to work and I can do about everything I needed to do at home,” Smith said. “All the kids are out of the house so there’s no distractions.”
“Businesses are buying these folks, they’ve learned, hey get them a laptop and zoom and get on the computer one-on-one and face-time and different things like that,” Jordan said.
Many of the available spaces can be found in downtown Charleston where the largest office building here is Huntington bank.
“That’s a high rise, what we consider a high rise here in Charleston, it’s really a mid-rise anywhere else, but that whole building is empty so we need people to fill the spaces whether that’s new business coming into the state or whether that’s existing businesses.”
Jordan says a positive twist would be that the pandemic has opened the doors for more opportunities for development throughout West Virginia.
“When you have a developer looking at a market, you don’t want to just buy an empty building, but it has created a different buyer,” Jordan said.
Jordan also says the market is doing well in West Virginia because people want to live and work in areas they can social distance.