NEW NORMAL

Most brands to reinvest offices post Covid-19 - Knight Frank

There will be a flight to quality space, with 92 per cent of firms planning to increase or retain the same level of quality in their offices.

In Summary
  • There will be a flight to quality space, with 92 per cent of firms planning to increase or retain the same level of quality in their offices.      
  • At least 70% of firms are planning to increase their global footprint by more than 10% of their existing size.
Ben Woodhams, Managing Director Knight Frank Kenya, Mwihoti M'Mbijjewe Head of Marketing Knight Frank and Andrew Shirley, Editor the Wealth Report
Ben Woodhams, Managing Director Knight Frank Kenya, Mwihoti M'Mbijjewe Head of Marketing Knight Frank and Andrew Shirley, Editor the Wealth Report
Image: COURTESY

International businesses are looking to their workplaces to revitalize corporate brand and culture after the pandemic, which will see significantly improved amenities for employees, the latest report by Knight Frank shows.

According to the report, as firms begin to look beyond the pandemic, with vaccine rollouts providing a roadmap to measures being eased around the world, they are evaluating the experience of the past year and how to enhance their workplaces for the future.

''Despite over a year of restricted access to offices, businesses continue to identify their workplaces as an essential component of their corporate identity and vital for retaining and reinvigorating employees post-pandemic,' the report shows.

At least 90 per cent of those surveyed by Knight Frank said that real estate is a strategic device for their business.

Almost 50 per cent of firms named ‘corporate brand and image’ as the top strategic priority fulfilled by their real estate, while offices are also increasingly seen as a tool for improving employee wellbeing, collaboration, and talent attraction and retention, with each of these categories referenced by 37per cent of firms.

Knight Frank’s second edition of its (Y)OUR SPACE report draws on responses from almost 400 international businesses with a combined headcount in excess of 10 million, providing a unique insight into the workplace strategies and real estate needs of global companies.

The need to improve office amenities or adjust workplace strategies will see up to one in four firms relocate their corporate headquarters after the pandemic.

Close to 38 per cent of firms said it is either likely, very likely, or definite that they will relocate their corporate headquarters within the next three years, setting the scene for significant activity in the office market and competition for the highest quality and best-located space in the coming years.

There will be a flight to quality space, with 92 per cent of firms planning to increase or retain the same level of quality in their offices.      

Many businesses are also planning to increase their use of offices to support their growth ambitions beyond the pandemic, with 30 per cent of firms looking to increase their total office space within the next three years. In total, 65 per cent of firms plan to grow or stabilize their current level of space.

Tech firms are set to be the biggest drivers of demand for office space, with 39 per cent of the global occupiers anticipating an increase in the size of their global footprint over the next three years identifying as Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) businesses.

Tellingly, of those, 70 per cent are planning to increase their global footprint by more than 10 per cent of its existing size.

William Beardmore-Gray, global head of occupier services and commercial agency at Knight Frank said global firms are looking beyond the pandemic and are focused on how their workplaces can enhance corporate culture and re-engage employees in a new age of agile working.

''Firms want to give employees the best of both worlds, allowing them to work flexibly, but making their offices the best possible experience, which means delivering higher quality and more engaging workplaces,'' Gray said.

He added that firms will embrace a new era of agile working by enhancing their corporate offices, not abandoning them.

Over the next three years, 47 per cet of firms will seek to improve the quality of the space they occupy, with 46 per cent looking to improve the amenities available to employees within the workplace.

According to the survey,55 per centof respondents said they will create more collaborative spaces within their offices and 54 per cent said they will implement desk-sharing or ‘hot desking’ over the same period, despite Covid-19 having largely prevented desk-sharing over the past year.