With the importance of physical offices intact, the need for workplace flexibility and safety is expected to drive behaviour patterns across occupiers, developers and investors, a survey by CBRE South Asia, a real estate consulting firm, has revealed.

Offer flexibility

The survey adds that senior business leaders have expressed a strong desire to bring employees back to the office. Nearly 80 per cent of them are prioritising physical offices but several are also willing to offer a greater degree of flexibility and choice.

58 per cent of respondents in India plan to implement policies allowing office-based working with the option of working from home.

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Post the second wave, occupiers are striving to encourage employees to come back to offices with their safety and well-being at the forefront of their ‘return to work’ plans. The survey highlighted three areas that require tech enhancement to facilitate return to work — administration, FM (facility management) services and amenities, and space tracking.

Continued wfh ‘seems unlikely’

According to Anshuman Magazine, Chair & CEO – India, South-East Asia, Middle East & Africa, CBRE, despite increased adoption of hybrid working during the pandemic, a wider adoption in the long-run seems unlikely.

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“Even with the adoption of hybrid work, most companies expect employees to work in the office most of the time. This new shift in working patterns should be considered along with occupiers’ intent to expand portfolios in India over the next two years. Thus, we believe adoption of hybrid working practices would have only a limited downside impact on future office demand in the medium to long term, particularly as space planning is undertaken based on long-term peak occupancy rates,” he said.

CBRE had reached out to close to 100 occupiers with a combined employee base of over 100,000 in India. This included global and domestic corporates from key sectors including technology, BFSI, engineering & manufacturing, infrastructure, real estate & logistics, research, consulting & analytics, and pharmaceuticals & healthcare.