Why it Took a Global Pandemic to Accelerate Corporate Flexibility
The role of the conventional office has been challenged.
With the successful global shift into remote and flexible working forcing businesses to re-evaluate traditional working arrangements, abandoned buildings have placed the future of commercial real estate under the microscope.
As we emerge from the greatest disruption to our workforce in history, professionals are questioning the role of ‘the office’ in a post-pandemic era, with businesses pivoting to adapt to a renewed widespread societal expectation for more flexible working arrangements.
While there’s no question that corporate flexibility will be key to any business moving forward, the work from home experiment has also reinforced the value of socialisation, having a collaborative space to nurture company culture, inspire high performing teams, drive innovative ideas, and promote productivity.
A Flexible Future
Research from JLL’s July 2020 Market Report predicts an accelerated shift to flexible space following COVID-19 with 30% of global office space expected to be flexible by 2030. Co-working, once pigeonholed to freelancers and start-ups, is emerging as an integral component of future real estate considerations, with 67% of enterprise decision-makers indicating that flexible space would form part of their real estate strategy in the future.
Hybrid co-working providers like JustCo are already seeing increased interest from large corporates exploring agile working arrangements as our different markets emerge from strict lockdowns. Recognising a rising demand from enterprise clientele, the company launched the Enterprise360 program back in 2018 to accommodate the unique requirements of large corporates. In 2020, more than 50% of our total office inventory across APAC services enterprises.
In a landmark deal for JustCo’s Thailand operations earlier this year, Krung Thai Bank took up space for 1,000 workstations in a bid to decentralise their workforce and empower employees with greater flexibility. Similarly, our Melbourne offices opening at 447 Collins Street will accommodate 100 staff from a Melbourne-based sovereign wealth fund in order to facilitate a third space for new social distancing protocols. Cosmetic giant, L’Oreal and Tencent-backed Riot Games will also take up more than 200 desks in our Singapore headquarters.
The Post-Pandemic Office
Remote working has left many of us craving connection beyond a screen and a space to separate our work from domestic distractions. While many professionals will likely continue working from home part-time, the human connection, day-to-day innovations and team camaraderie fostered through office interactions is integral for creating positive work experiences. These contribute to the health and wellbeing of employees and play a significant role in attracting and retaining great staff. The immediate opt-in to a thriving community and all-inclusive service offering make co-working spaces an attractive option for businesses and professionals re-evaluating their post-pandemic workspace.
The trend of office densification will reverse as more enterprises lean on flexible office space to decentralise their workforce and cater for greater workplace mobility. Enterprises will need to integrate flexible workspaces into their commercial portfolios to support a new generation of workers; one that demands flexibility and different workspaces to support different ways of working, combined with opportunities to network, collaborate and socialise.
So, what does that mean for the ‘the office’ in a post-pandemic world? Through a year of business disruption one thing is certain, the future of commercial office space is a spectrum of flexibility.
If you’re considering a new commercial space, JustCo provides a range of short or long-term, all-inclusive office solutions with co-working amenities giving teams access to a range of private and collaborative spaces. To find out how we can support your flexible workspace requirements, please get in touch.