Remote work is here to stay. But, it won’t be synonymous with at-home, nor will it be a case of all-or-nothing. That, in short, was the conclusion of our #FrameLive discussion on post-pandemic workspace design. So, what will the future of work look like? Panellist Ramon Beijen, creative director of commercial real estate firm CBRE, believes that even though work will become more local, people still need to get out of their houses sometimes and therefore, workspaces will be increasingly dispersed across spatial typologies.
‘We’ve already signalled a growth in satellite co-working spaces that serve the OOO workforce,' Beijen says, 'and the COVID-19 crisis will only accelerate this growth. A more distributed and decentralized approach towards office space is likely to persist.’ An occupier survey CBRE recently conducted among 126 senior-level global real estate executives aimed at determining how the COVID-19 pandemic will change the location, design and use of office space, substantiates Beijen’s statements. When asked about their long-term workspace strategies, which 70 per cent of respondents were confident in formulating, one-quarter indicated they are exploring suburban satellite strategies and 73 per cent of respondents expect flexible office space will play some role in future strategy.
Will there still be a place for the urban headquarter within the ‘new normal’?
What does that mean for the traditionally highly sought after, easy-access urban headquarter? Will there still be a place for such central work cores within the ‘new normal’? Maybe. But not in their traditional role – or size. Perhaps surprisingly, less than one in 10 companies that responded to CBRE’s 2020 Global Occupier Sentiment Survey considered leaving high-density urban cores, even though ‘these highly dense mass-transit-oriented urban cores have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, causing lingering health concerns about returning to the office'. The conclusion drawn from the survey states that ‘the role of the city centre headquarters likely won’t disappear, but employees will have more choice over where they work. City locations may serve as a more transient cultural base for employees in a broader real estate footprint that may include an employees’ home working environment and satellite locations near workforce population clusters’.