Commercial developers are coming out with offerings that provide a sanitized environment and an array of wellness amenities catering to health-conscious customers.
Due to the Covid-19 outbreak in early 2020, organizations were forced to reinvent the wheel overnight and have swiftly embraced the new norms of functioning. As safety and health took priority, work-from-home became the prime model and the best alternative for business survival. However, it is no more a secret that the outbreak has stretched and pushed modern professionals into an uncomfortable zone. The ability to work from any location, no more commuting, an abolishment of traditional 9-5 work parameters which people started enjoying earlier in 2020 is now becoming a challenge to cope with and is adding unnecessary fatigue.
The organizations have now realized that the biggest challenge faced by remote workers is ‘unplugging’ from work and employees are having a tough time bifurcating their personal and professional space. Many corporates are already finding ways to get back to the office as the initial euphoria of WFH starts to wane and businesses are itching to bring back to a semblance of normalcy. The world is adjusting to operating during a pandemic and prepare for the recovery, organizational leaders are navigating their return-to-office strategies.
With the pandemic showing us such unpredictability and uncertainty, the real question to review is if consolidation at all should be considered or companies should look at segregating operations so that business continuity is maintained and there are not too many people in the same office at any point in time. We have witnessed organizations are open to viable options to bring operations back to normal as the pandemic has had a monumental effect on workplace culture.
In 2021, we are observing several organizations to develop strategies and evaluate transition plans to ensure business continuity in the current environment is a top priority for companies. Companies are now looking at A grade developers, planned developments with low density and open spaces, evolved designs and infrastructure to accommodate future contingencies, use of technological innovations which include advanced HVAC systems and touchless mechanisms, excellent facility management – all put together people are looking for quality and peace of mind about their health and safety.
The third quarter of 2020 had witnessed a 138% increase q-o-q in gross leasing volume to 14.7 million sq. ft. This development indicates how commercial real estate will pick up the pace in 2021 amidst the expectations of economic stability. There is a significant rise in demand for new and larger office spaces to accommodate the employees who are joining back. To ensure social distancing and optimal safety regulations for employees, a spike in demand for larger floor plates has emerged in many sectors. Beginning to follow workplace safety, organizations that are continuing WFH now have started preparing their return-to-work strategy owing to the inconvenience of remote working. The news of the Covid-19 vaccine has added impetus to these decisions and mitigating the threats.
Undoubtedly, there will be a stepwise approach for a few organisations in the recuperation process. However, we see a lot of positivity in the segment in the next quarters. Organizations across several sectors are learning and implementing new technologies and processes to make the workplace safer. This is where the active support of commercial real-estate developers evolves. Maintaining the highest level of hygiene, tech advancements, modification in seating arrangements to ensure an adequate social distance between employees, prompt medical assistance are certain things organizations are making adequate arrangements for.
Real estate has quickly evolved in response to the pandemic; the digital revolution is evident. From planning and conceptualizing to design, architecture; from marketing to sales and on-line transactions, digital is the platform now driving real estate; the buzzwords being building information modeling (BIM), internet of things (IoT), augmented (AR), and virtual reality (VR), big data analytics, cloud solutions, blockchain technologies, and smart automation concepts. Commercial developers have been at the helm and ready to launch offerings that provide a sanitized environment and an array of wellness amenities catering to health-conscious customers.
Summing it up
Inclusivity, for instance, through induction of a differently-abled workforce and providing a safe atmosphere for them to function at par with their colleagues leads to higher performance and can help businesses achieve higher outcomes. We foresee a few trends that will redefine the commercial segment this year. The key concerns of health, hygiene, and wellness would invariably continue to be a priority. As far as the kind of developments is preferred, campuses with 9×9 experience are in huge demand which integrates state-of-the-art office space with premium retail and culinary prospects to give you a truly holistic experience.
(By Sushil Kumar Sayal, Director & CEO, Bharti Realty)