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Some office spaces remain vacant as Iowans head back to work

Office vacancies are on the rise in central Iowa. Industry experts blame the COVID-19 pandemic for hitting the pause button on new leases.

DES MOINES, Iowa — A lot of folks working from home for the last year and a half are finally making their return to the office— but for these workers, there are some COVID-era practices that might stick around. 

Across central Iowa, open office space signs are popping up more and more. 

"Really what we're seeing over the last year is just an uptick in vacancy," said T.J. Jacobs, who works for CBRE Hubbell Commercial. 

The real estate agency has noticed a trend in empty office spaces. Jacobs said it's not just an Iowa thing. 

However, more and more companies are starting to bring more employees back to the office. 

"By and large, many of the occupiers are, you know, bringing folks back, it's something that will be a transition," Jacobs said. There's going to be something called the hybrid model of, you know, multiple days per week, it's going to vary from, you know, tenant to tenant and business to business."

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The hybrid work model of partially working from the office and home will probably stick around. Jacobs says the physical space of the office will respond to that change. 

"So your space might change from having, whether it's, it's actual, you know, private offices and or, you know, a large area of workstations," Jacobs said. "Some of that might transition into kind of cafes or lounges, you know, areas where you're able to gather as a group. And more kind of relaxed settings, where if you're hosting weekly meetings or team meetings it's conducive to doing that."

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