What the future holds for the office market has been one of the hottest topics of debate ever since the pandemic struck. What changes are to be expected in the office sector after the pandemic? Katarzyna Lipka, an expert of Cushman & Wakefield, outlines key trends for 2021 and beyond.
Short-term office demand will depend on the state of the economy, which undergoes cyclical fluctuations and will return to a growth path following a downturn caused by the pandemic. According to forecasts by Moody’s economists, Poland is expected to see economic recovery in the late second or early third quarter of 2021. If this happens, office demand is likely to start growing later this year or early next year.
Long-term outlooks will depend on the role of the future office and what workplace strategies most tenants will adopt. One of the key aspects here is the proportion of remote and in-office work.
The pandemic has forced most organisations to transition to the remote work model on an unprecedented scale. Cushman & Wakefield’s research shows that this model proved successful and workers enjoyed this kind of flexibility. However, a number of major problems were also revealed such as the lack of a comfortable workspace at home (cited by many respondents), limited social interactions that have an adverse impact on well-being and business results, diminished learning and work experience opportunities, as well as a stifling of innovation and creativity. What’s more, levels of satisfaction with remote work were lower during the second wave of the pandemic than in spring and those problems deepened.
Therefore, based on survey insights and feedback from focus groups, the following changes are likely to be expected:
To sum up, it is hard to foresee how the situation we are faced with will impact the size of office requirements in the long term. Having said that, it can be stated with a fair degree of certainty that the office will continue to play a major role for almost all organisations, but its role and character will inevitably evolve. Therefore, both tenants and landlords will need to adapt their strategies to the changing reality to maintain competitiveness.
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