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Lessons Learned: SideCar Reflects on One Tough Year

Working from home

March brings with it the promise of spring (even if it’s often our snowiest month here in Colorado), a break from school for kids, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and longer days for us to get out and enjoy the outdoors.

But this March also marks one year since COVID-19 came to Colorado and Texas, sending us all home from our offices and social engagements and setting everyone on a path to one of the strangest, most challenging years we’ve ever had.

With all that has changed in the last year, our team here at SideCar decided to spend some time reflecting on some of our biggest takeaways. It’s been a tough year, but we found some silver linings and learned some important lessons.

Interaction and connection are what keep us happy and healthy

We’re a tight-knit team at SideCar, so being relegated to our homes was a hit to our team spirit. We quickly learned to use video chatting to stay connected with one another and with our clients, instituting morning team meetings and virtual happy hours. In some ways, we now feel more connected and stronger as a team than ever.

In our personal lives, we found new ways to support our friends and show up for each other through good times and bad, even if we weren’t physically there. We connected with our families in new ways and gained new appreciation for the people we live with, while also learning how to share our space with them day-in and day-out.

But even though we’ve figured out how to be a team remotely, you won’t catch us taking in-person interactions for granted any time soon.

Our clients and the CRE industry are built to last

Commercial real estate faced so many unique challenges this year, but the resiliency of this industry continues to amaze us. We aren’t in the clear quite yet from an economic perspective, but our clients and the industry at large have already worked so hard to pivot and make changes that allow them to keep up with the new world in which we’ve all found ourselves.

With a focus on service, plenty of data and intelligence, and a big dose of creativity, commercial real estate companies in Denver and Austin have weathered this storm. They immediately got to work engineering solutions to the unique problems that cropped up nearly constantly early on. That quick action has made all the difference for companies trying to navigate a recession driven at its core not by any economic change, but by pathology and the unpredictable spread of a virus.

At its core, commercial real estate is built on its ability to adapt and ride out challenging economic times, and each time a recession comes along, the industry and the people and companies in it emerge stronger, smarter and more ready to take on whatever comes next.

The built environment will be different – but more important than ever

We at SideCar have long recognized the importance of the built environment in our daily lives, thanks to our close connection with those who create it, but the pandemic has brought the truth about how much our lives are defined and impacted by the built environment to the front of mind for everyone.

After a year spent largely in our homes, people everywhere are more cognizant of their spaces and how they’re designed and built to either help or hinder their mental and physical health and wellbeing. They are more aware when they go out of the characteristics of places that make them feel safe and welcomed. We believe this shift in perception will help drive some incredible, innovative design, especially in cities.

Companies are also thinking proactively about how to use the space they have to best fit their employees’ new expectations around how workplaces should run, given the knowledge and experience that come with more than a year of remote work. In all corners of commercial real estate, thoughtful, creative conversations that will lead to a happier, healthier workforce with improved productivity and, hopefully, better work/life balance.

While we’re grateful to have identified any positive outcomes after this incredibly challenging year, our eyes now are on the future and a time when we can all be safely together, experiencing our favorite places again.

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