Why office parking demand has spiked since lockdown

Garret Flower is the chief executive & co-founder of ParkOffice.io – parking software for smart offices. 

Over the last few months the real estate community has been obsessing over COVID-proofing their buildings. Ensuring appropriate hygiene protocols are being followed and providing ample space to socially distance are key measures for landlords and occupiers.

However, in all the hustle and bustle to get the office ready for work, many companies are forgetting to consider a massive area of concern for employees.

How to get to work safely?

In the pre-COVID world, a growing environmental consciousness had accelerated the growth of public transport as a viable commuter method for millions of workers across the world. This was changing the dynamics of workplaces as less space was needed for employee parking. However, like many things in the world, this has changed dramatically over the last few months.

With the New York Times reporting that 60% of commuters are worried about using public transport to return to work due to social distancing concerns, public transportation numbers are expected to plummet as major employers around the world start to reopen. The number of employees driving to work will be higher than ever.

This isn’t the only big change many employers will see upon their return to the office. Working from home has been an undoubted success for many employers. While many employees are craving getting back to the office, the majority admit that they hope to maintain a level of flexibility in working from home on certain days in the future. This has caused much debate in the real estate industry about the future of offices.

Regardless of where you land on that particular issue, one thing is crystal clear. Increased fluidity of employees working flexibly combined with a surge in parking demand is going to make managing employee parking more challenging than ever.

Traditional methods for managing employee car parks have become obsolete. Assigning parking spaces doesn’t work in an environment where parking space owners are working remotely a few days a week. Employees simply won’t be happy to run the gauntlet on public transport every day only to walk through a half-empty parking lot because senior management are working from home and nobody is using their space.

Meanwhile, operating first come, first served parking runs a serious risk of overload in an environment where parking demand can surge depending on who is needed in the office. 

The good news for real estate professionals is that there has been very strong growth in the area of employee parking management software over the last few years. Prior to the Coronavirus turning the world upside down, leading employers were realizing that there had to be easier and more efficient ways of managing employee parking.

Previously onerous tasks such as monitoring car park occupancy, allocating parking space, digitizing parking access and managing parking violations can now all be fully automated. This was a rapidly growing sector over the last few years with leading real estate players such as CBRE & Colliers International all adopting new technologies to help their client companies. 

COVID-19 has massively accelerated this growth, parking management software has gone from a nice to have to a must-have for a huge number of companies and landlords. Leading softwares will allow people to manage all aspects of their employee parking as they return to offices.

Monitoring who needs parking and when, allocating parking automatically and notifying employees to stay at home if they do not have a space can all happen in seconds with a few clicks of a button.

Uncover the final piece of your return to work jigsaw and ensure your employees can travel to work safely.