How will COVID-19 change the location, design and use of office space?
CBRE Research recently conducted a survey of 126 senior-level global real estate executives to determine how the COVID-19 pandemic will change the location, design and use of office space. The survey findings—the first in a series—will help occupiers and investors identify evolving workplace trends and how sentiment toward office environments changes over time.
More flexible work is expected: 70% of respondents indicated that some portion of their workforce will be allowed to work remotely full-time; 61% of respondents indicated that all employees would be allowed to work outside the office at least part-time.
The physical office will remain important: 41% said the importance of the physical office will decrease only slightly and 38% said it will remain as important, if not more.
Cyclical portfolio adjustments are under pursuit: More than 60% of respondents are pursuing lease renewals and more than half have relocation plans on hold. More than 85% are optimizing their portfolios and more than 75% have expansion plans on hold or canceled.
Long-term strategies are under consideration: 70% are confident in setting long-term real estate strategies even amid the pandemic; fewer than one in 10 companies are considering leaving high-density urban cores; one-quarter are exploring suburban satellite strategies. 73% of respondents expect flexible office space will play some role in future strategy.
The workplace is quickly changing: Most respondents indicated workplace transformation is still trending away from dedicated private space and toward shared collaborative space. This is critical for workplace efficiency and satisfying a more hybrid workforce (in-office and remote working) but there is some uncertainty given the health and safety impacts of COVID-19.