Cushman & Wakefield Releases Post-Pandemic Office Space Analysis

Study determines “what happens to the office” in the second phase analysis of the postpandemic office series, in affiliation with the George Washington University.

Cushman & Wakefield, a leading global real estate services firm, has released an analysis “Purpose of Place: History and Future of the Office”, examining the factors impacting the need for office space in a post-COVID-19 world. The study analyses why we have come to rely on office
space, past economies that led to the rise of the office, and the main drivers affecting the future of the office and distributed workforces.

According to the study, half of employees are struggling to feel connected with colleagues and their company’s culture and over a third do not feel like they are learning as a result of working remotely. While formal collaboration and learning continues to take place, there are challenges with informal learning and mentoring which are easier to execute through social interaction in the office.

The Future of the Office

Despite the successes of working from home during the pandemic, this research indicates a meaningful need for some office-based working in the future. While remote working can be beneficial for productivity and provide flexibility, it is less well-equipped to facilitate learning, innovation and a sense of community to the same degree as the office. Almost half of the employees monitored (45%) said they lack a “sense of wellbeing” while working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic as they struggle to switch off.

Based on these findings and wider analysis, the study identifies the five main drivers that will determine businesses’ future workplace strategies:

  1. Productivity / Retention
  2. Innovation / Creativity
  3. Company Culture and Branding
  4. Employee Satisfaction / Retention
  5. Location and Building Strategy

Many companies will probably opt for a balance of remote and office working.

“While we’re continuing to find innovative ways to adapt to remote work, the reality is, working only remotely is not sustainable. This enforced global experiment in remote working has accelerated trends that were already happening, and in this study, we explain how a combination of officebased
and remote working is crucial to the success of businesses moving forward, as well as our own professional development and job satisfaction,” says Nicola Gillen, Head of Total Workplace EMEA, Cushman & Wakefield.

“COVID-19 has been a drastic and society-changing experience that has greatly impacted office workers around the globe. While we expect employers to embrace a more flexible approach to when and where people work moving forwards, it is highly unlikely that a 100% remote working
policy will be adopted outside of a singular event such as a pandemic. The office plays a significant role at forging connections between colleagues and providing sources of inspiration and motivation. That said, the key to any workplace strategy moving forwards will be balance. Businesses should
strive to unlock the ‘Goldilocks’ relationship, blending an optimal level of remote and office working that aligns and complements their priorities and culture,” adds Despina Katsikakis, Global Head of Total Workplace, Cushman & Wakefield.

“According to ‘Flexibility of Professionals and Managers in Times of Change’, a study prepared by Cushman & Wakefield and Antal, around 54% of all office-based professionals worked fully remotely in Poland during the first phase of the pandemic in March and April. As May passed into
June, most restrictions were eased, with employees slowly returning to offices and most of them embracing a hybrid work model. The return also varied by organisation, and some decided as early as in the closing days of March to extend their working from home policies to the end of the year or
even the spring of 2021. In addition, most companies adopted a wait-and-see approach in recent months and some held off on their lease decisions about commencing office relocation or re-fit-out. I think that businesses will be looking for the right balance of remote and office working postpandemic, and will not fully vacate occupied spaces despite a larger dose of flexibility. Recent months have clearly demonstrated that the office is an important factor driving productivity and providing a place to establish social connections and corporate culture, which can hardly be
replicated through virtual meetings,” says Jan Szulborski, Senior Consultant, Cushman & Wakefield.

The analysis,“Purpose of Place: History and Future of the Office”, is derived from Cushman & Wakefield’s own analysis of 5.5 million data points from workers all over the globe, in affiliation with the George Washington University (GWU) School of Business Center for Real Estate and Urban
Analysis and Places Platform, LLC, a place-based national real estate database firm.

Click here to download the report.


Cushman & Wakefield

Last Updated on February 22, 2021 by Karolina Ampulska