Global Companies to Downsize Office Footprint


The future of offices looks set to change with 36 per cent of companies reporting that they intend to shrink their office footprint, according to a survey by workspace design company Unispace.

About 240 global companies were surveyed including ANZ Bank, Optus, Coca Cola, EY and Deloitte which found respondents had mixed thoughts on when the office would go back to “normal” estimating it would take anywhere from 6-18 months.

The results showed companies were looking to send employees back in waves, video conferencing would become commonplace as well as investing in collaborative spaces in the office and adjusting their office footprint.

The main difference between Asia-Pacific workers and the rest of the globe was the reliability of internet connections affecting productivity at home.

The other concerns for working at home were a decrease in presence and connection with clients (55pc) and lower social connectivity between staff (63pc).

Related: Covid-19 Pushes 46pc to Work From Home

However developers and landlords were constantly adapting to new technology and different workplace styles, Charter Hall head of office development Andrew Borger said at The Urban Developer's Workplace in Focus webinar.

“The average age of workplaces across the country were buildings constructed in the 1980s, 1990s,” Borger said.

“Mobile phones weren't even around, you can look at how technology has changed and the workplaces have changed in the last 30 years.

“There will be high pressure on B-grade assets to re-purpose and we think development will have its challenges.”

Charter Hall's head of office development said organisations were starting to think beyond the here and now with a focus on safe spaces with high hygiene standards.

“As we've gone through various iterations of how workplaces have been changed, there's been multiple times in history—in those 33 years—where people have said that this will be the death of offices,” Borger said.

“Overall from a utilisation point of view, we think that density for organisations will change, there may be some efficiency given with a high proportion working from home.

“Conversely the actual rate of per square metre of people working in the office will change and go up slightly as well to counterbalance that.”

A lot of uncertainty has surrounded the Australian office sector with a number of significant office buildings initially being pulled from the market during the pandemic.

However the market has shown signs of life with the sale of a $72 million office in Carlton and a $20 million office in Frankston.

Meanwhile developers were already putting forth Covid-19 adjusted building models.

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