Evolving Workforces

The Future of Office

2020 Global Occupier Sentiment Survey: Fall Update

November 1, 2020 7 Minute Read


How has sentiment around the future of office changed as COVID-19 persists?

CBRE Research recently completed the second installment of The Future of Office client survey. As with the inaugural round of the survey, our September study was completed by senior-level global real estate executives who provided insights on how sentiment is shifting about the location, design and use of office space. Particularly, how sentiment has changed since the inaugural survey in June.

The results of our longitudinal study include a global perspective across a broad industry mix. Ultimately, our goal is to uncover the evolving workplace practices and trends that corporate leaders identify as central to their real estate strategies and how their sentiments toward the office environment change over time.

Sentiment Toward Future of Work

Source: CBRE Research Client Survey, June 2020 and September 2020.



Occupiers aspire to provide office access. 67% anticipate all employees to have access to the office by mid-2021 – this sentiment depends heavily on virus transmission and health considerations as the re-entry date nears.

Occupiers and employees expect an office option. 81% of respondents expect at least half of their workforce to be “office-based” in the future – 73% support these “office-based” employees in balancing their time between the office, home and “third places.”

Transformation towards collaborative design will accelerate. As the role of the office evolves to favor teamwork over individual work, design will likely follow suit – 70% are planning to operate in a significantly “free address” environment to support a more mobile workforce.

Focus on optimization has intensified. 60% are aggressively pursuing consolidation strategies, and 70% have expansion plans on hold, as optimizing existing portfolios has become a focus in light of uncertainty. Urban core remains important, while hub-and-spoke strategies vary by market and sector.

Flexible solutions are attracting greater interest. 56% are considering more use of flexible office space, as it offers unprecedented ability to plan for uncertainty – 82% indicate flexibility is a desired attribute as they select buildings to lease in the future.

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