A global survey of employers has found that productivity, creativity and motivation are maximised when staff combine working from home with working in the office.
Nearly half (46%) of 1,500 “senior office occupiers” surveyed by law firm CMS felt that a mixture of home and office provided the best work environment for employee productivity, while only 32% the office alone was best. Less than a quarter (23%) felt that working exclusively from home was best for productivity.
Blending home and office
Respondents provided similar responses when judging what is best for creativity/innovation and motivation and enthusiasm. The office alone was deemed best for human connection among 46% while home was seen best among 19% of businesses and a blend of the two for 36% of participants.
The CMS report, Real Estate Reset: Offices and purpose beyond the pandemic, the eighth annual analysis of the commercial property sector, also found that 27% of occupiers said they were likely to downsize their office space, 23% believed they would split their offices into different location, 16% said they would move office and 5% thought they would close down and have no office space at all. Two in five respondents (40%) said they would make no change.
Ciaran Carvalho, partner and head of real estate at CMS, said: “Even before the pandemic, the real estate industry was embarking on a period of seismic change. The transforming environmental, political and social landscape and rapid advances in technology were changing the way we build, where we build and our relationship with where we live, work and spend our leisure time.
“The pandemic has accelerated many of these trends, while magnifying the issues and bringing into focus the opportunities the industry faces. This report is published at a critical time for real estate, with the industry at a crossroads. It is front and centre of the national agenda with the emergence from lockdown and the reopening of our offices, shops, schools, cafes, restaurants and leisure facilities.”
The survey was carried out in July 2020 by FTI Consulting on behalf of CMS, and weighted the opinions of over 1,500 occupiers across the UK, Europe and Asia, including large, SME and micro organisations. The poll also garnered the opinions of circa 250 real estate professionals and 520 global institutional investors.
In the UK, 42% of industry leaders said they were pessimistic about the outlook for the UK real estate market, compared with 31% in 2019 and 24% in 2018. Although, following the Brexit referendum in 2016, 63% of respondents said they were pessimistic.
With regards the return to the office, 61% of occupiers said they would be refurnishing their offices when employees return to the workplace, suggesting that in the mid to long-term offices will endure, albeit in a different form as a place to meet, exchange ideas and enable closer personal interaction alongside more agile workforces.