Global Companies to Reinvent the Office

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A Survey of 400 global firms employing 10 million people reveals businesses are looking to offices to boost employee wellbeing, collaboration, and talent attraction.

International businesses are looking to their workplaces to revitalize corporate brand and culture after the pandemic, which will see significantly improved amenities and services available for employees, according to the latest research from Knight Frank.

Knight Frank’s second edition of its (Y)OUR SPACE report draws on responses from almost 400 international businesses with a combined headcount in excess of 10 million, providing a unique insight into the workplace strategies and real estate needs of global companies. As firms begin to look beyond the pandemic, with vaccine rollouts providing a roadmap to measures being eased around the world, they are evaluating the experience of the past year and how to enhance their workplaces for the future.

William Beardmore-Gray, global head of Occupier Services and Commercial Agency at Knight Frank, said: “There is a mood of change in the air. Global firms are looking beyond the pandemic and are focused on how their workplaces can enhance corporate culture and re-engage employees in a new age of agile working. We are seeing a re-familiarisation with the office beginning in many big cities around the world. Firms want to give employees the best of both worlds, allowing them to work flexibly, but making their offices the best possible experience, which means delivering higher quality and more engaging workplaces.”

New amenities and better service are top real estate demands

Firms will embrace a new era of agile working by enhancing their corporate offices, not abandoning them. Over the next three years, 47 percent of firms will seek to improve the quality of the space they occupy, with 46 percent looking to improve the amenities available to employees within the workplace. 55 percent of respondents said they will create more collaborative spaces within their offices and 54 percent said they will implement desk-sharing or ‘hot desking’ over the same period, despite Covid-19 having largely prevented desk-sharing over the past year.

Andrew Love, partner, head of occupier services and commercial agency, said: “Over recent years in the Middle East we have seen concerted efforts to move towards a more sustainable future, particularly in relation to the built environment, with a strong focus on the development of green and sustainable buildings. In the real estate development space, whilst we have certainly seen a shift from relatively carbon-intensive practices to a more green agenda undoubtedly, a tremendous amount more must be done to ensure that the future of the built environment is truly sustainable and therefore future-proof, both for society and as an asset class.”

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