Future trends in commercial property

Analysts to office staff agree that the future of work has been sharply realigned, due to the effects of the pandemic.

Yet, notwithstanding the sweeping changes that have indelibly altered not only where and how we work, but also the face of our workplaces, the “work from anywhere” mentality is countered by cautious workplace change.

A recent study conducted by global workplace strategist Unispace, which focused on a cross-section of clients, from BUPA to FujiFilm, highlights a series of key future trends for commercial real estate. These include: 

Real estate portfolios are changing as a result of the pandemic – Around 47 per cent of clients who surveyed planned to make changes to their portfolio; with 27 per cent of respondents looking to decrease their real estate footprint. Even though 30 per cent don’t plan to change their portfolio, this group has been looking to optimise existing space to suit more flexible ways of working. 

Increased drive for portfolio efficiency – Unispace’s client base alone is aiming to achieve more than $390 million in savings across their global portfolios through space reduction and/or cost avoidance.

Leading by example, Unispace took a 70/30 approach to office space – 70 per cent for problem-solving, innovation and socialising; and 30 per cent for individual workstations. In doing so, this reverses its previous approach and saves the company $US100 million per year. 

Flight to quality – It’s a tenant’s market with opportunities to take advantage of high vacancy and historic sublease supply in major cities. This points to a correlation in reducing office space requirements. Higher quality zones that build upon the business case for action are the preference. 

Decentralisation and the rise of the suburbs – Outlying regions and business centres are taking the lead in the corporate realm. A move away from the city to more convenient and cost-effective hubs and home portfolio models is the norm. This, along with the creation of urban communities through the growth of suburban coworking spaces, and even live workspaces as part of residential developments, will increasingly challenge our central business districts. 

Purpose of the workplace – Of those surveyed, 49 per cent predict that home working will remain, but face-to-face collaboration is still important. Around 44 per cent expect people to come into the office for specific face-to-face activities.  

The office is still key to employee engagement – A sizeable proportion, 63 per cent of employees, feel that going into work contributes to a sense of community. Furthermore, 58 per cent say that being in the office gives them a greater connection to the organisation. 

It seems that there will always be a place for office space, but the world is forever adapting to new demands and technological advances in the corporate sector.

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