Cushman & Wakefield today released its report on the hybrid office in mainland China. The report throws further light on the latest in the global trends towards hybrid office adoption and goes on to examine both the advantages and disadvantages that hybrid offices are generally associated with, before diving deeper into the findings from the report's mainland China hybrid office questionnaire survey.
General Global Trends
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations around the world, including those in mainland China, had to rapidly adapt and implement a hybrid office working system simply to stay in business — with the majority of employees in many cases, working from home.
Today, some people around the globe are going as far as to say that the in-office working model that existed pre pandemic is gone. Certainly, there will be the hub office located in many cities around the world, but it’s improbable that organizations will be obligating all their employees to return back to the office in a full capacity.
General Advantages and Disadvantages
Going hybrid certainly offers a plethora of advantages to communities, to organizations and to office worker employees. Two of these advantages include; a greater freedom for employees to choose where and when they work, and; the provision of choice in terms of when to work and where to work allows employees greater life flexibility. In other words, the ability afforded to employees to better plan, prioritize and complete both their work tasks as well as their living tasks, thus providing employees with a better work/life balance.
On the flip side, and to act as a counterbalance, going hybrid also has its disadvantages and two of these drawbacks include; less engagement and the feeling of being part of a team, and; burnout — where work can cut into normally-regarded free time.
Findings from Mainland China
During Q1 and part way through Q2 this year Cushman & Wakefield Research conducted a 20-question survey to gauge the current thinking of corporate real estate professionals in mainland China on the subject of the hybrid office. Some of the key findings from the survey include:
- There is around a 50-50 split between those enterprises which have not considered implementing/not implemented a hybrid office working system and those that are considering implementing/have implemented a hybrid office working system
- For those enterprises that have adopted a hybrid office working system, the vast majority of survey responding enterprises cited the COVID-19 pandemic as being the event which most accelerated their decision to implement
- The decision to adopt a hybrid office working system was largely driven by an adopting and implementing enterprise’s management team
- In terms of employee generational groups, Millennials and Generation Z are most in favor of a hybrid office working system
- For hybrid office working system-adopting enterprises, the number one advantage upon adoption and implementation is the greater freedom of choice open to employees when it comes to when and where they work and the number one challenge is weakened working relationships among the employees
- Of those enterprises which have adopted a hybrid office working system, the majority have re-designed their office space, with a greater proportion of flexible space and collaborative space being factored in
Hybrid Office Implementation — What to Consider?
If not already decided upon and applied in mainland China, going hybrid does bring up a number of implementation issues and items for an effecting organization to deliberate, including:
- Incorporated tech, tools and work resources
Jonathan Wei, President of Project and Occupier Services, China, Cushman & Wakefield, said, “The future office workplace will be a fusion of remote and in-office working. The hybrid office working system is more fluid and flexible when compared with the older more fixed always-in-the-office working system. Thus a hybrid office needs a greater proportion of space set aside for bookable seating, quiet working, collaborative work and formal and informal meetings to accommodate the new working modus operandi of today.”
David Shi, Managing Director, Head of Project & Development Services, China, Co-head of Sustainability Services Platform, Greater China, Cushman & Wakefield, added, “The mature application of remote office technology is forcing companies to rethink the purpose of the workplace and driving reform within the office working model. The hybrid office model has become a favorite among multinational companies. Going hybrid, however, does bring up a number of implementation issues to deliberate, including which policies to follow? How to reconfigure space? And what tech and tools to use?”
Shaun Brodie, Head of Content, Research, Greater China, Head of Research, East China, Cushman & Wakefield said, “Going hybrid offers greater freedom for employees to choose where and when they work, and at the same time allows employees to better plan, prioritize and complete both their work tasks as well as their living tasks, thus providing employees with a better work/life balance. In the fullness of time, the future office workplace will be a fusion of remote and in-office working, with technology being the main means to keeping employees connected and productivity levels efficiently sustained.”
About Cushman & Wakefield
Cushman & Wakefield (NYSE: CWK) is a leading global commercial real estate services firm for property owners and occupiers with approximately 52,000 employees in approximately 400 offices and 60 countries. In Greater China, a network of 23 offices serves local markets across the region. In 2022, the firm reported global revenue of US$10.1 billion across its core services of valuation, consulting, project & development services, capital markets, project & occupier services, industrial & logistics, retail, and others. It also receives numerous industry and business accolades for its award-winning culture and commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and more. For additional information, visit www.cushmanwakefield.com
or follow @CushWake