CHICAGO - Cushman & Wakefield (NYSE: CWK), a leading global real estate services firm, in partnership with CoreNet Global, has released new survey results showing the evolution of the workplace from pre-COVID-19, to expectation for a post-COVID-19 return to work.
The survey found that the future of the workplace will benefit by providing office workers with flexibility to work in multiple locations during a typical week. However, 100 percent remote work is not ideal for most employees. According to pre-pandemic data from Gallup, employees working in the office five days a week and those working outside the office five days a week both had lower employee engagement than those utilizing a hybrid model of both remote and in-office work.
“We see a real opportunity for employers to transform the workplace experience with flexible options for employees by offering a variety of locations and experiences to support convenience, functionality and well-being,” said Despina Katsikakis, Cushman & Wakefield’s Total Workplace Global Lead. “Before the pandemic, 59 percent of companies surveyed used an ‘office-first’ model. Now, as we begin to move to a post-pandemic model, the vast majority (81 percent) of companies are looking at hybrid models, with 58% indicating an ‘office-first’ hybrid model where most workers are in the office part of the week and working remotely for a day or two each week.”
A third of survey respondents, including 39 percent of C-suite respondents, expect that companies will allow employees to live anywhere regardless of company office presence. This potentially creates opportunities for companies to draw from previously unavailable labor pools while giving employees greater flexibility.
“Finding qualified talent has always been a heavy lift for companies – especially those in finance and technology. An unanticipated consequence of the forced work-from-home pandemic response is that management has realized how seamless a transition this could be – and that their potential labor pool is not limited to their physical markets,” said Sonali Tare, Senior Director of Content Experience with CoreNet Global. “Improvements in technology—now tested during a crisis—will accommodate more flexibility for office workers and that provides for more remote working in cases where the role allows.”
The pandemic has also accelerated trends in office design and physical layout. The survey found that approaches to everything from assigned seating to collaboration spaces and working in “third spaces” (neither home nor the office) have all significantly changed since the pandemic began.
“When we asked about the physical work environment, we saw significant movement in people’s views and approaches post-pandemic. People want flexibility – including virtual options and collaboration spaces,” said Sandy Romero, Research Analyst at Cushman & Wakefield. “This is not surprising as half of the employees surveyed as part of Cushman & Wakefield’s Experience per Square FootTM consulting tool indicate they struggle to connect with their company’s culture because the office is seen as a key supporter of connection to company culture, corporate leaders and other colleagues.”
Cushman & Wakefield partnered with CoreNet Global to conduct this survey. It was distributed to CoreNet Global’s membership and data was collected October through November 2020.
A total of 339 responses were received from over a dozen countries across the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific. Respondents came from firms that identify as end users, economic developers and service providers/consultants. A fifth of respondents are C-suite executives and 78 percent are in leadership positions.
The full survey can be downloaded here.
About CoreNet Global
CoreNet Global is a non-profit association, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia (US), representing more than 11,000 executives in 50 countries with strategic responsibility for the real estate assets of large corporations. The organization’s mission is to advance the practice of corporate real estate through professional development opportunities, publications, research, conferences, designations and networking in 46 local chapters and networking groups globally. For more information, please visit www.corenetglobal.org.