Asia Pacific Companies Expect Employees to Spend More Time in Office Even As Majority Warm to Hybrid Work: CBRE
Majority of Companies Intend to Embrace Hybrid Working with Office-First Approach Favoured. Healthy Outlook for Long-Term Office Demand as Multinational Companies Eye Expansion This Year
12 May 2022
Singapore – May 12, 2022 – The majority of Asia Pacific companies intend to retain hybrid working arrangements even as employees return to the office on the back of easing COVID-19 restrictions across most of the region, according to CBRE’s latest survey.
The survey of more than 150 Asia-Pacific companies reveals that nearly 60% expect some form of hybrid working, ranging from an equal mix of office and remote working (28%), mostly office (24%), and mostly/fully remote (5%). Nearly 40% of respondents expect staff to work fully from the office, up from 26% in 2021. This contrasts starkly with the U.S and EMEA, where just 5% or fewer companies expect staff to fully work from the office.
The overriding preference for office-based working in Asia Pacific signals healthy long-term prospects for office demand, with nearly half of respondents intending to increase their real estate portfolios over the next three years, while 59% of multinationals plan to expand this year, up from 33% in 2021.
“The return will not be to office life as we knew it pre-pandemic. Workplace priorities have shifted to support hybrid work, with measures ranging from changing the size and function of office portfolios to implementing new in-office features like hot-desking and smart-workplace technology. There is no ‘one size fits all’ strategy for companies; measures can differ across geographies, industries, and even individual departments in the same company,” said Luke Moffat, Regional Managing Director and Head of Advisory & Transaction Services, Asia Pacific for CBRE.
The survey reveals a sharp drop in fixed seating arrangements in favour of flexible seating and activity-based working. Prior to the pandemic, 58% of firms had fixed seating compared to just 28% of companies that still retain it. These preferences vary across industries, with the financial sector undergoing the strongest shift away from fixed seating, while professional services firms are likely to maintain more fixed seats, although some law firms are introducing unassigned private offices for confidential work.
The adoption of hybrid working will require cutting-edge physical, human and digital amenities, with flexible open spaces (64%), good indoor air quality (52%), and touchless technology (35%) among the features that companies most want to incorporate in their buildings. About 60% of companies intend to increase their investments in technology in the workplace to provide a better experience for employees.
“Technology will be front and centre of the hybrid working push such as next-generation meeting facilities that can accommodate hybrid meetings, along with solutions that track office space optimisation. To create this high-functioning ‘phygital’ workplace, occupiers will have to commit substantial investment and collaborate closely between internal functions and corporate real estate teams,” said Ada Choi, Head of Occupier Research and Head of Data Intelligence and Management, Asia Pacific for CBRE.
CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBRE), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Dallas, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2021 revenue). The company has more than 105,000 employees (excluding Turner & Townsend employees) serving clients in more than 100 countries. CBRE serves a diverse range of clients with an integrated suite of services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services. Please visit our website at www.cbre.com.