How companies’ transforming real estate strategies are shaping the office market

According to the latest EMEA Occupier Sentiment Survey from global real estate adviser CBRE there is a common mindset on hybrid working in the different sectors. Along with the altering working patterns, companies’ real estate strategies are also changing.

Different sectors, different hybrids

According to the CBRE survey, a significant majority of businesses, (68%) expect to be promoting a more regular return to the office by the middle of this year. Referring to the study Facilitate Magazine also highlights that nearly a quarter (23%) said the process is already underway, with 45% focusing on the remainder of H1 as the return period. 

However, the poll also points to some sector differences, with nearly 80% of financial companies aiming for a more regular return by mid-year, whereas technology companies are likely to allow the process to take its own course. It is also noteworthy, that only 6% of companies require employees to return to the office full-time. 

C-suite endorsement is rising

72% of the asked companies are moving towards a hybrid workplace model in which employees have a choice within the framework of company guidance. Not only is this appreciably higher than last year (55%), but most state that there is a strong C-suite endorsement of this position. 

Richard Holberton, Head of EMEA occupier research at CBRE, said: “Over half of companies aspire to an equal mix of office and remote-based work – up from 29% last year, while 38% think their workers will be at the office for three or more days per week.”

Relocating to cheaper regions with better-quality spaces

A growing number of companies also expect their portfolios to expand. A year ago, a third of companies were expecting to expand physically over the next three years. This has now risen to over 40% overall, with the figure rising to 60% in the technology sector. 

Concerning portfolio locations, over a quarter of businesses are considering relocating some functions to lower-cost regions or cities as the research shows. “Cost isn’t the only factor at play though, with many businesses looking to relocate to better-quality space” – Holberton added.

90% are changing their real-estate strategies

Challenges, like entering new markets or preparing for uncertain demands, have also led to the increased popularity of the flex office market. The proportion of companies for whom flex space represents less than 10% of their portfolio has halved from 86% now to an expected 41% in two years’ time – writes Facilitate Magazin.

Nearly 90% of those questioned indicated that they would be making changes to their real estate strategy as a result of the pandemic. Companies are looking to increase collaborative areas – up from 36% to 63%. Enhancing workplace amenities have moved up from 9% to 36%. The survey also indicates a heightened desire for an increased emphasis on health and wellness, with 41% of businesses citing this as important.


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