An interesting piece about the future of the corporate headquarters, produced by WeWork and the Financial Times. Obviously, this is WeWork's interest to push for more flexible workspace but still, the article shows that the Covid crisis just accelerated massively a shift that was already happening, more slowly, but inexorably, as shown also by the CBRE 2020 Global Occupier Sentiment Survey about the Future of the Office.
This shift towards more remote work is now massive, with a potentially huge effect on corporate real estate.
There are a few tendencies that are identified in this FT/WeWork analysis:
- the increase in remote work, with a huge number of employees and employers now open to the idea of working remotely after Covid, at least part of the week (according to a CBRE 2020 survey 70% of companies see a future featuring remote work, up from 37% before Covid)
- a de-densification of offices - initially for social distancing - but potentially later for more efficiency at work,
- the development of satellite offices, enabling employees to work closer from home, but not to have the constraint to necessarily work at home,
- the word of the future seems to be "flexible", whether we talk about the flexible office (HQ that could be reconfigured depending on activities) or the flexibility in terms of location (HQ, satellite workspaces, home) leading to a hybrid work organisation mixing remote and on-site work for each employee,
- this flexibility that would be offered to employees is supposed to push productivity and happiness at work, as long as we find ways to keep teams functional and cohesive.
The subsequent question is for corporate real estate: what do we do with all these free square meters and with all these cranes in the City of London and elsewhere that keep building new offices? For what purpose?
For the full article, by the Financial Times and WeWork: https://wework.ft.com/articles/what-will-become-of-the-corporate-hq/
For the full 2020 survey by CBRE about the future of work: http://cbre.vo.llnwd.net/grgservices/secure/Future%20of%20the%20Office%20-%20Client%20Occupier%20Survey_D5.pdf?e=1604673724&h=1f97a4dc41c96979c90266b59c1fc1d2