The increasing digitalization of organizational structures at companies as a result of the corona crisis will impact future space requirements in the office segment. “Reduced occupancy counts in office concepts points to increasingly flexible working arrangements and will lead to reduced space requirements. However, we won’t be seeing oversupply, as vacancy rates are already low in many German cities,” says Andreas Wende, Chairman of the ZIA Office Property Committee. “The already tangible trend towards increasing workplace flexibility is likely to accelerate because of the corona pandemic.”
According to industry experts, office take-up is already down by up to 25% (Q1 2020 vs. Q1 2019). The latest surveys show that 50% of the workforce already work from home, at least part time. There is a growing need for policymakers and the real estate sector to work together to develop solutions that will support this trend.
“That will also include revising workplace regulations,” comments Andreas Wende. “Rigid rules with regard to workplace conditions, space requirements and the legal uncertainties around mobile working need to be addressed. In today’s business world, office space requires agile concepts with more flexible regulations for working from home and remotely. We also need to see a more pragmatic approach to data privacy and insurance matters,” Andreas Wende continues. “Particularly in light of the corona pandemic, stock office space needs to be brought up to speed with the new requirements in order to remain competitive long term. We should view this as an opportunity to actively promote change in our work environments. Chances are good that we will see a modern, lively post-corona office market.”
Office properties will not become redundant in the wake of changing space requirements. “Quite to the contrary,” says Andreas Wende. “The importance of office properties increases significantly with the need for efficient, modern urban development. A new awareness of space puts a much stronger focus on corporate identity, activity-based space concepts, collaboration models and district concepts. We will also be seeing an increasing emphasis on health aspects.”