The ongoing evolution of corporate office requirements

Global Real Estate Perspective, November 2020

COVID-19 has served as the ultimate accelerant to corporate transformation, speeding up many trends evident before the pandemic and pushing organizations toward change. CEOs are now realizing that their businesses may never operate in the way they did prior to the virus, while CRE leaders need to address the evolution of office and employee requirements:

1. Recognize the long-term existence of the virus.

Corporate occupiers have moved their target from a post-COVID-19 state to a post-vaccine state, i.e. living with the virus rather than without. Business critical activities will continue to be prioritized to sustain operations.

2. Adapt to a pattern of sporadic attendance.

Corporate occupiers have adjusted the return to work as the continuous phases of lockdown and relaxation are here to stay for months to come. Sequencing is the only way to keep offices open.

3. Consider ‘Work from Anywhere’ as the new model.

As remote working is now an engrained part of working life, corporate occupiers are embracing the concept of ‘Hybrid’. New workforce behaviors have been adopted and will continue to evolve. The CRE portfolio will need to adapt to this new model.

4. Lean into workforce preference(s) to retain top talent.

The ‘future of work’ is primarily a worker-centric world and employers are now realizing this. With a company’s talent clearly more dispersed in the future, the workforce can no longer be viewed through a binary lens. The reasons to return to work are human and social, as well as performance-driven.

The workforce will influence, if not direct, the new ‘future of work’ scenarios. 2021 should be used as a year for responsible investments and radical transformation to create a better world of work through real estate.