Our Thoughts
Wed, 10/07/2024 - 12:00
· 2 min read

Pan-European Office Occupier Survey | 2024

One of the most enduring aftereffects of the pandemic is the increased preference for remote work, leading to a drop in office space per employee.

It is an outcome adding further complication to offices as an asset class for investors on top of structural issues like higher finance costs and energy obsolescence. For occupiers thinking about the cost of unoccupied space, hybrid working raises the question of usefulness. It makes for a very uncertain environment in a sector traditionally seen as offering a clear pathway. 

Yet hybrid working models simply magnify the post-war development in how information is processed. Technological developments contribute to change in the historic function of the office as an information processing “factory”. That function is dissipating with more basic tasks becoming digitised and shunted towards data centres. The end point of this change is still unfolding as hybrid working develops with improvements in technology.

Consequently, the role and functions of the office have not entirely disappeared. Instead, they are also evolving in tandem with technology. It is leading to much higher expectations on environment quality from organisations and employees. The office is increasingly a place to meet people: colleagues and clients like to meet each other in nice places. 

Remote meetings are decidedly functional in nature; their main purpose is to exchange basic information. The benefits of spontaneity, non-verbal communication, availability, and increased involvement are hard to replicate in a virtual environment. They all flow more easily in person. Companies like this way of fostering collaboration and building a strong company culture, and sense of belonging.

It also reflects the change in value of work generated out of offices. Work increasingly has higher value attached to it becoming less about information processing and more about creation. There is a drive towards offices that are an expression of ethical values. Buildings must deliver on ethical values in an operational sense. Modern companies prioritize having the right workspace to engage employees, attract and retain talent. They also want to address ethical concerns about environmental impact, energy efficiency especially, with evidence that substantiates claims.

Hybrid working is a new stage in office evolution as it transitions away from basic information processing. This process is by no means complete. The office remains an important part of operational infrastructure of a business, and increasingly serving as means to create both monetary and ethical value. Transition of this nature requires a comprehensive and forward-thinking approach to navigate the challenges of the evolving workplace landscape. As we move forward, the office will continue to adjust to the changing priorities of the modern workforce.

Download the full report below or contact Tom Bolland and Mhairi Thomson for more information. 

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Pan-European Office Occupier Survey | 2024