Asia Pacific Office Usage Rate

Asia Pacific Office Usage Rate Surpass US, Europe

ASIA PACIFIC – A study by property consultancy CBRE shows that businesses in the region are leading in the return-to-office movement, with the office utilisation rate in Asia Pacific (APAC) hitting 65 percent as of March 2023, reported The Edge on Tuesday morning (4 July, SGT).

Comparatively, companies in Europe and the United States lag behind, with office utilisation rates standing at about 50 percent. This is based on a poll conducted between March and May that involved 130 executives from more than 80 companies.

“Corporate management in APAC is focusing on getting employees back to the office as they retain a strong belief that office-based work can boost collaboration and engagement,” noted CBRE.

In fact, 48 percent of the surveyed business leaders in the region prioritise getting staff back to their workplace versus 40 percent in the United States and 43 percent for Europe. However, office usage rate in the Pacific, including Australia, remains under 60 percent, while that in Japan, South Korea, and Greater China hovers at about 70 percent.

Moreover, CBRE found out that firms appear to be shifting towards wanting their employees to spend more time in the office. This year, 32 percent of the respondents said they want their staff to work in the office at least three days a week compared to 24 percent in 2022. Also, there’s a lower percentage of companies permitting their staff to divide their work hours at home and in the office – from 28 percent last year to 22 percent in 2023.

Although leasing demand is expected to remain muted over the short-term due to ongoing economic uncertainty, 44 percent of the surveyed executives disclosed that they intend to increase their office footprint in the next three years. Of these, most are planning to increase their office space by 10 percent to 30 percent.

Interestingly, 64 percent of the respondents want to lease office spaces that are ESG-rated, while 52 percent intend to take up more coworking space.

“Flexible space remains a way to enhance portfolio agility, with companies expecting flex space to represent a quarter of their overall real estate portfolio by 2025, up from about 14 percent currently,” added Ada Choi, Head of occupier research at CBRE.

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