The role of offices has been subject to a revolution over the past two years, when a pre-existing trend was spectacularly accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Businesses continue to evolve working practices to embrace hybrid working and further evolution is therefore inevitable. However most agree that offices remain key to successful business performance.

The traditional role of offices was fundamentally disrupted when government lockdowns forced most businesses to switch, almost overnight, to remote working.  Since then, the future of offices has been in the spotlight more than ever before.  However, it is widely accepted that fully remote working doesn’t benefit business productivity or employee satisfaction and wellbeing.  

Initial fears that the office market would see mass exits and severe downsizing have largely not materialised.  Instead, focus has shifted towards optimisation of space to support key needs that remote working cannot satisfy alone, including collaboration, connectivity, creativity and culture.

ESG is top of the agenda for many businesses, who are increasingly looking to their office spaces as a means of supporting the wellbeing of their workforce as well as to deliver on ambitious sustainability and decarbonisation targets.  A ‘flight to quality’ for new office space is impacting rents and creating even greater polarisation in the rental and investment markets.

Flexibility also remains crucial, with space as a service continuing to play an important part in many occupiers’ strategies and traditional leasing models also evolving: shorter lease terms and “plug and play” options continuing to play a strong role in the leasing market.

Technology continues to support many trends, including hybrid working, ESG and wellbeing initiatives and the collection and sharing of data also remains a point of interest to occupiers and owners alike.
As working practices and space requirements evolve, collaboration between owners, occupiers and workers will be vital in creating office environments that can continue to play an effective role in the new hybrid world.

Find out more about our Real estate investment services, ESG and Sustainability.

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