Office Landlords Invest In More Flexible Working Features, Coworking Spaces
GLOBAL – Experts revealed that businesses and office landlords are adding more hybrid working features and incorporating new technologies into the workplace in a bid to lure employees to back to the office post-pandemic, reported Mingtiandi on Tuesday evening (22 November, SGT).
“I think within offices, there’s a lot more demand for the ability to work in a more informal and flexible environment,” said Cushman & Wakefield’s Head of Asia Pacific tenant representation Anshul Jain during the finale of Mingtiandi’s Office Strategies Forum.
“I believe that flex is here to stay and is probably going to keep rising at a good pace over the next few years,” noted Jain, who is also the property consultancy’s Managing Director for India and Southeast Asia.
He explained that as Asian firms adopt hybrid work arrangements, the shift is prompting commercial property owners to tweak their office buildings to better cater to the expectations of businesses seeking to integrate more flexibility post-pandemic.
In fact, landlords are enabling hot desking, upgrading common spaces, and incorporating more tech-enabled features to get a competitive edge over their rivals and uphold the value of their office properties over the long-term, said Eric Schaffer, CEO for Asia Pacific at essensys, a provider of software and tech for commercial properties.
“Folks will pay more for a flexible workspace. These investments will definitely pay off just on the outset, but also in the terms of future proofing what you’re gonna do next [with the office space],” Schaffer said.
To maintain a competitive edge in the office sector, he shared that property owners are working to provide coworking spaces either through an in-house brand or a third-party service provider. He also underscored a need to leverage tech in order to oversee these flexible workspaces more effectively.
“What’s considered a flex office, we’d all agree that demand has certainly risen above supply in many of the markets,” Schaffer added.
Apart from tech-enabled features, another important thing is fostering a community-like environment in the office to increase morale and productivity, said Claude Touikan, a Co-founder of Lead8, an architecture and design studio based in Hong Kong.
“For the new design of offices, I think we’re looking at a workplace community concept. Usually when you come into the office you want to feel like you have a community feel by doing that, you can actually increase your productivity inside the office, because it feels good to be there and you also feel very comfortable.”
Moreover, C&W’s Jain disclosed that at their recently-opened new office in CapitaSpring in Singapore, the property consultancy has witnessed a significant improvement in attendance after their workplace incorporated a more casual style and flexible design.
Touikan narrated a similar experience in Lead8, where his employees prefer to work in the office to take advantage of better connectivity and have the opportunity to work together with colleagues more easily. He noted that workers in Asia prefer to work in the office due to the smaller homes and cramped living areas.
“People are happy to come back if it’s a nice environment to offer. But one thing is now for certain, nobody is willing to come back 5 days a week to the office and that is something that we must all incorporate in ourselves that hybrid is here to stay,” added Jain.
According to a poll by McKinsey, 70 percent of employees across the world want their companies to offer more hybrid working arrangements post-pandemic, while about 66 percent still want to interact personally with their workmates.