Well over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, office occupiers remain focused in the near- term on workplace health and safety while keeping an eye on potential long-term changes in office usage. CBRE has conducted a series of occupier surveys throughout the pandemic to keep up with rapidly changing occupier sentiment. Their most recent survey, conducted in spring 2021, highlights the actions that occupiers are taking to facilitate a return to the office and accommodate new ways of working accelerated by the pandemic.
The health and safety of employees remains paramount. Even though occupiers agree that the office remains integral to the future of work, they recognize that the role it plays in satisfying the needs of talent is rapidly evolving. While the headwinds are complex, the consensus among the C-Suite to drive change that recognizes the impact of wellness in the workplace has created a heightened focus on building-level measures.
- Sentiment as of April 2021 suggests that there will be a marked return to the office starting in Q3 2021
- 61% of respondents anticipate a more normal state of office occupancy in the second half of 2021 led by large companies
- Indoor air quality, filtration and monitoring are now the most important building level enhancements underway.
- Small and some mid-size companies are more likely to desire a primarily office- based workforce to maintain company culture and collaboration between employees.
- The survey indicates that most companies want employees to spend at least half of the week in the physical office.
- Collaboration, culture and engagement are the top three areas that companies want the workplace to support.
- There is a broad array of technologies focused on health, safety, efficiency and experience that larger companies are especially interested in.
- Increased dependence on flexible office space as part of a real estate portfolio strategy remains of keen interest to office occupiers.
- Wellness, technology and flexibility are the top building amenity requirements of occupiers, especially large enterprise companies.
- 63% of large companies identified Indoor Air Quality as the most in-demand building amenity in the future