August 7, 2020
Since the COVID-19 pandemic largely mandated working remotely this past spring, the conversation in the office sector has revolved around when tenants will return and on what terms. A newly published survey from global property technology company Equiem provides insights into occupier sentiment amid the pandemic.
Hosted via Equiem’s tenant experience platform, used by more than 175,000 office workers worldwide, the study details the impact of COVID-19 on remote work situations, workers’ expectations for their return to the office and their health and safety concerns. Highlights of the study include the following:
● Occupiers are productive at home, but struggle with sub-optimal work environments and a lack of interaction with colleagues. While 82% of occupiers said they’re as or more productive at home, 45% missed conversations with colleagues. In addition, 56% desired better work setups, 25% wished for better access to home health and wellness options and 18% needed better access to work-from-home resources.
● Sixty percent of occupiers won’t return to the office until ‘it feels safe.” Critical factors for them to return are information and communication. Upon returning, more than 80% of occupiers expect up-to-date information on active in-building COVID cases, new safety procedures (including use of facilities), and cleaning procedures from their landlords or company. Over 60% also expect current office density information to be available.
● Occupiers who worked in-office during lockdown anticipate a greater risk of infection once everyone returns. Forty-five percent believe the office presents a low to very low risk of infection during lockdown, with this number dropping to 22% when lockdown ends.
● Tenant experience platforms have become important channels to acquire information for occupiers, with 70% of occupiers citing COVID-19-related updates on their Equiem platform.
● Remote work is here to stay: 65% of occupiers expect to work from home once a week or more after restrictions are lifted, compared to the 28% who were doing so before. Landlords surveyed by Equiem similarly agree that there will likely be an increase in remote working post-lockdown.
● Australian occupiers believe they are more productive than they were before the lockdown, while US and UK occupiers believe they are as productive as before.
● Landlords’ and property managers’ biggest concerns include adhering to social distancing measures, managing elevator access, increased cleaning and maintaining air quality in the building.
● Landlords have varied predictions about the future: 75% of landlords envision a medium transition with business as usual by the end of the year, whereas 17% of landlords see a short transition, and 8% see a long and slow transition –12 months or longer—ramping up to a new standard of security and cleaning requirements.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown period has accelerated the evolution of the office,” said Equiem CEO Gabrielle McMillan. “More occupiers will work from home after lockdown ends, therefore owners need to be even more proactive in understanding their needs and delivering solutions to address them.”
For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Paul Bubny