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53% occupiers prefer working from home + office: Survey

Occupiers are looking at adoption of flex spaces as the most preferred choice, where offering flexibility to employees and promoting work-life balance will be the protagonists.

53% occupiers prefer working from home + office: Survey
About 74% of the occupiers are looking towards distributed workspaces as a strategy to shift from location-centric to people-centric workspaces.

As the third wave of Covid-19 started waning in February this year, the return to office gained momentum after a gap of two years. As a result, by June 2022, about 34% of the companies saw about 75-100% of the employees back in office (including hybrid work), according to a C-Suite Survey conducted by Colliers and Awfis.

With a drop in the number of Covid-19 infections and an increase in the rate of vaccination, employers gradually started reopening the workspaces for their employees. However, a shift in the working patterns was seen as employers started offering hybrid working options to their employees.

Further, occupiers are looking at increased agility for their real estate portfolios. Distributed workspace patterns and hybrid work environment are the new reality that occupiers are embracing. Occupiers are looking at adoption of flex spaces as the most preferred choice, where offering flexibility to employees and promoting work-life balance will be the protagonists.

As per the survey, about 74% of the occupiers are looking towards distributed workspaces as a strategy to shift from location-centric to people-centric workspaces. This will enable flexibility to employees while furthering productivity gains for businesses.

While 54% of the occupiers who highly prefer distributed workspace are from the IT/ITES, followed by Consulting and New Tech (Analytics) companies, 44% of the occupiers who do not prefer to execute distributed workspaces are majorly from IT/ITES, followed by E-commerce and consulting companies.

Close to 53% occupiers prefer working from home + office as their preferred portfolio strategy.

The survey was conducted during May-June 2022 for occupiers across different sectors such as IT/ITeS, BFSI, engineering and manufacturing and others. A total of about 150 responses were received from C-Suite executives spanning Founders, CEOs, COOs and CHROs of various companies. The company size of the respondents varied, starting from the range 1500 employees to companies having over 10,000 employees.

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“To understand how occupiers are reimagining their future workplaces, Colliers and flex space operator Awfis conducted a survey with CXOs to understand their strategies regarding distributed workplaces and role of flex spaces. Occupiers are looking for a workplace model that not only furthers their business goals, but also creates a comfortable working environment for the employees. Employee wellness has now become an integral part of real estate decision-making for occupiers. Occupiers are paying heed to aspects such as work-life balance and the mental well-being of employees. As occupiers weave in employees’ wellbeing along with furthering business goals, we see an overarching theme of distributed workplaces in their plans,” said Ramesh Nair, Chief Executive Officer | India and Managing Director, Market Development | Asia, Colliers.

“A distributed workplace can be in several forms – mix of flex spaces and traditional office in the same city; multi-offices in the same city `ala a hub and spoke model; a mix of flex space and traditional offices across tier I and tier II cities – No one size fits all. The approach towards distributed workplaces is now propelling the growth of flex spaces in metro cities, with flex operators also making inroads into tier II cities. Flex operators have already leased 3.5 million sq feet of office space during H1 2022 in the top six cities, about 73% of the space leased in full year in 2021. In tier II cities, flex spaces are likely to grow more than two-fold to 5.5 million sq feet by the end of 2022,” Nair added.

“As businesses reinstitute their operations and the world races back to normalcy, organizations are seeking innovative workplace strategies that do not hinder employee productivity levels achieved during remote working. While few organizations still hold onto the work-from-home model intending to uphold operational overheads, others have prioritized flexibility as the crucial determinant in devising their post-pandemic workspace strategy. Amid this accelerated business recovery, there is a growing perplexity among organizations to select the ideal workplace model to conduct operations in full swing and distributed workforce strategy stands out as the most sustainable option,” said Amit Ramani, Founder & CEO, Awfis.

Going ahead, over the course of the next two years, occupiers approaching their lease expiry are likely to explore relocation options. As a result, occupiers are likely to include distributed workspaces as a part of their portfolio strategy. This is likely to include one head office near the CBD/SBD, with multiple smaller offices near larger residential locations. Opting for distributed workspaces can allow occupiers to operate in a hybrid work-from-home model and keep their capital expenditure low.

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