Cushman &Wakefield (NYSE: CWK), a leading global real estate services firm, released a report examining what industry leaders expect their future workplaces to look like in a post-pandemic environment following the anticipated successful distribution of the COVID-19 vaccination.
The new report, “Workplace Ecosystems of the Future,” developed by Cushman & Wakefield’s global research team, includes focus group and survey insights from building owners with just under US$900B in assets under management, building occupiers representing US$574B in annual revenue, and business improvement district executive directors in major U.S. markets containing over 350 million square feet of office space.
Among other findings, there is strong consensus among leaders that declines in workplace culture, innovation and creativity are inevitable when people work entirely remotely. Hybrid working, where employees spend part of the week working in the office and the other part working from home or in a third location, is expected to more than double going forward, while exclusively remote structures will remain the exception. In addition, the real estate industry is expected to become nimbler as tenants require greater flexibility in terms of space, amenities and leasing terms.
“These testimonies and research findings provide further evidence that people still need a space to collaborate, innovate and stay connected – and the office provides that,” said David C. Smith, Global Head of Occupier Research at Cushman & Wakefield. “The pandemic has given us the opportunity to test remote work. Moving forward, occupiers will need to strike the right balance between remote and in-office work, and our research indicates a need for fundamental change in the culture and flexibility of the real estate industry in order to remain relevant in a post-pandemic environment.”
Shaun Brodie, Head of Occupier Research, Greater China at Cushman & Wakefield, said: “According to a recent Cushman & Wakefield survey, 81% of the interviewed enterprises in China are likely to add more intelligent communication network technology software and devices, such as Cloud conference-related software and devices. By doing this, these enterprises hope to better enhance the home/remote working experience for their office employees, and boost employee engagement and work productivity.”
Jonathan Wei, Managing Director, Head of Project & Occupier Services, China at Cushman & Wakefield, said: “While home/remote working holds many advantages for both an enterprise and its employees in China, it has to be noted, it can never be a replacement for the physical office. There will be individual employees, business teams and departments that work better together in the physical office. Moreover, for those employees working at home or remotely, the physical office will always be there for face-to-face meetings with fellow colleagues and clients alike.”
This report is the latest and third of Cushman & Wakefield’s four-part global research series exploring the impacts of COVID-19 on the future of office and the workplace, “New Perspective: From Pandemic to Performance.” Parts 2 and 3 are derived from Cushman & Wakefield’s own analysis of 5.5 million data points from workers around the globe, in affiliation with the George Washington University (GWU) School of Business Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis and Places Platform, LLC, a place-based national real estate proptech firm.
Part 2’s retrospective analysis examines how we’ve come to rely on offices and the unlikeliness of the office to disappear, particularly given the types of economies likely to reemerge in a post-pandemic world. This includes the knowledge economy, which is a result of job growth in technology, science, design and professional services, and the experience economy, which includes tourism, sporting events and other live events.
The fourth and final part of the global research series will examine external factors shaping the future of work, including technological, political change, and economic drivers.