Flexibility and technology to drive a doubling in leasing activity: Colliers

These are essential to grasp the modifications wanted within the office.

The previous 12 months noticed many landlords left with an oversupply of obtainable house, with COVID-19 in full swing and lots of companies switching to distant work to proceed operations. It was solely within the latter half of 2020 that firms adopted the concept of hybrid workplaces to accommodate staff preferring working from the workplace and people which might be unable to, or want to not, for varied causes.

This pattern of getting versatile working preparations and hybrid workspaces is seen to proceed from 2021 onwards, with many staff seeing the advantages of getting flexibility of their very own time. On the opposite finish of the sphere, nonetheless, are employers who’re in search of methods to take care of excessive productiveness with out forcing their complete workforce to return to the office as if COVID-19 had not occurred.

Sam Harvey-Jones, Managing Director of Occupiers Providers Asia at Colliers, stated that this 12 months is trying to be extra promising as many employers are shifting to versatile workspaces, which incorporates providing staff the choice of working again in a bodily workplace.

“In Q2 and the rest of this year, we see a 96% uptick in leasing activity. That 96% increase would take us back to 2018 or 2019 levels, so there is definitely some light at the end of the tunnel,” he stated.

“In 2020 leasing was down 50% throughout the area and provide outstripped demand by about 2.2 occasions. We noticed the vast majority of folks adapt to a work- from- dwelling set-up. However there have been additionally a sequence of continuous breakouts all year long as a result of COVID-19, which meant the 12 months was very cease begin” he added.

While this can be the case for a lot of markets, it is not going to be the case for all of Asia.

“Some of those countries have dealt with the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 quite well. But as we saw with India in the last couple of weeks, some countries are still experiencing lockdowns. It is a very uncertain situation in general in terms of what we’re seeing, but there is definitely some positivity as we come out of Q1,” he stated.

Colliers launched a examine referred to as “The Next Work Experience” earlier this 12 months, which confirmed that almost all of staff from completely different age teams and industries in APAC want to return into the workplace.

For workers aged 20 to 30 years previous, 65% stated that they like to have versatile workspaces. In the meantime, 50% of these aged 40 and above stated that they don’t want this feature.

Harvey-Jones stated that it is vital for senior administration to grasp the wants of their employees and the youthful workforce to know methods to navigate and plan their versatile working preparations.
This shift to the “office of the future” will want a extra open mindset to maintain the corporate’s efficiency in high form.

“Traditionally managers like to see their staff in front of them. So, there’s a real mind shift here, around staff not being in the office day to day and how to manage this new remote working environment,” he stated.

“Rather than having to check in with the team every day and have daily meetings, how do we get to a place whereby we trust people and really empower our staff to thrive in this new environment and help change the way of working in the future?” he added.

Tech driving demand

The actions within the expertise sector are enjoying an vital position in ramping up the demand in these workplace areas. It was projected to have contributed about 25% of the rise in demand, as companies open information centres and places of work.

“Technology is trending as the biggest driver of demand. In most of the major markets in this region in India, Singapore, and China, we’re seeing that upwards of 20% to 25% of all demand is coming from the technology sector,” he stated.

As staff keep in work-from-home set-ups, cloud expertise is being wanted greater than ever. Harvey-Jones initiatives that there can be a 30% development in that sector YoY.

“We’re seeing a huge amount of activity from data centers across the region, including Singapore, Hong Kong, India, and China. More people are online. With more technology there is more need for cloud, and I think it’s just going to continue,” he stated.

One other side of why there can be a rise in leased workplace house this 12 months is to draw high expertise, particularly within the expertise sector. Right here, firms might want to supply versatile choices to make these youthful staff extra productive at work. The choice, as soon as obtainable, should then be provided throughout the board to all age teams and sorts of staff.

“I think the number one takeaway for occupiers is how to create an environment whereby you can attract and retain talent. Particularly in the technology sector, there’s a lot of competition to attract talent. This still hasn’t gone away even though there’s been a recession,” he stated.

“The demographic consisting of ages 20-30 years old may want remote working and flexibility. The management should be able to provide that same privilege to individuals over 40,” he added.

‘Culture Clash’

While companies can regulate to going again to full operations in lots of elements of the world, regardless of having to shift to versatile working preparations, the identical is probably not the case in Asia.

Harvey-Jones cited that workplace house continues to be in excessive demand in Asia, primarily due to the tradition current in plenty of nations on this area. While counterparts within the West might regulate to having desks and good working situations at dwelling, the situation differs in lots of elements of Asia.

“In Asia, people don’t necessarily have the infrastructure behind them that allows them to be as productive in a home environment as they would be in the US or Europe, where the average person or the average family probably lives in a much bigger space,” he stated.

“Urbanization has been a huge part of the Asian population growth and, therefore, people are living in smaller, flat-like environments, sometimes with up to two or three generations. You’re not seeing that elsewhere, so it is important to be careful that we don’t confuse what is happening in the mature Western markets and what is happening in Asia,” he added.

Presently, what he’s seeing as a great situation is for employers to supply the choice of the place to work to their staff. This may allow employees from Asia to work within the workplace many days of the week, however with the selection of working in different hubs or satellite tv for pc choices the place attainable.

“We saw that despite 83% of people wanting some sort of work-from -home option or flexibility, they still want to go into an office three or four times a week, or they want to go into a flexible workspace,” he stated.

“What we’re seeing occupiers looking at are a number of hybrid options. Do you go to a decentralized hub-and-spoke model where you have a headquarters in a CBD, or do you go into the suburbs or elsewhere where there is some sort of satellite office closer to residential areas?” he added.

As firms scale back their bodily places of work to adapt to the altering occasions, he sees this pattern persevering with to take care of wholesome general operations, particularly for firms working in numerous nations.

“What we are seeing now is that there are companies that are introducing global initiatives whereby you can buy global co-working space, which can be utilized in multiple markets across the world by your staff” he stated.

He additionally shared the “Five Es” – Expertise, Experiment, Educate, Embrace, Empower –which Colliers sees as the required steps for places of work and occupiers to undertake in the way forward for work.

In Expertise, the employer should suppose ‘employee first’. Enterprise efficiency and worker wants should be balanced throughout bodily and digital work locations and environments. This may result in Experiment, the place there can be a testing of recent workplace designs and fashions.

This may result in Educate whereby the precedence positioned for wellness should be communicated, so as to allow a number of methods of working by means of Embrace. Lastly, Empower culminates the 5 E’s by means of offering readability and certainty in order that places of work might proceed to function within the “new normal”.

“What we’re looking at here is how to help people through the evolution of the workplace. From an Experience perspective, how do you marry the virtual with the physical experience? In Experiment, this can be both from a technical and technology perspective, it is a matter of studying different markets, different cultures, different nuances, and how they will need experimentation to work out what is the best fit,” he stated.

“To Educate is particularly key because you have people who shifted to working remotely telling us that they’re super productive. We need to get hold of that feedback and assess how we can Embrace the two different needs of what the employee wants and what the business needs. Lastly, how do you empower employers to manage that process of making sure that people are on top of their business, measuring it, and holding people accountable, and giving them some autonomy to be successful,” he added.

While Harvey-Jones believes that 80 to 85% of the workplace will stay as is, 15% or 20% can be primarily based on extra versatile workspaces or will embrace a rise in decentralized areas.

He concluded that there are a selection of various operators who’re all taking a look at this house to cater to various kinds of shoppers transferring ahead.

Picture courtesy of Colliers.


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