Asian businesses are leading the return to office

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A recent survey conducted by CBRE has revealed that businesses located in Asia Pacific (Apac) are at the forefront of returning to office, with utilisation levels in the region hitting 65% at the end of March this year. Comparatively with Europe and the US and Europe had a utilization level of fifty%. The survey that ran from March through May included over 130 real estate executives in corporate in Apac from more than 80 businesses.

A majority (48%) of respondents polled said they would prefer to see employees back to work in comparison with forty% of respondents in those in the US while the 43% in Europe. “Corporate management at Apac is focused on bringing employees back to work, since they hold the belief that work in the office can improve collaboration and enhance participation,” the report adds.

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The number of employees who work in the office varies throughout the region in the region, with CBRE noting that the markets of Greater China, Korea and Japan have 70% utilization rates% and office usage is still lower than sixty% across the Pacific.

Hybrid work is still the new norm, even though businesses are changing their approach to workers spending more time at work. The study shows an average of 34% of companies in 2023 expect employees to work working full-time in their offices decreasing from 38% in the previous year. There has also been a decrease in the number of companies that allow employees to split their time between working from home and at the office. This has decreased to 28% from 2022, to just 22% the year before.

A growing number of companies are planning to employ employees primarily working from their offices (three or more working days per week) and 32% of companies polled in 2023 aiming to do this, in contrast to 24% by 2022. CBRE believes that a certain amount of flexibility is likely to remain, and anticipates that attendance at offices in Apac will remain 10% or 15% lower than levels pre-pandemic in the near future.

Although leasing strategy is expected to be prudent in the near term in the face of economic uncertainty, CBRE says that 44% of Apac businesses surveyed have plans to expand their office portfolios in the three years ahead, indicating an appetite for expansion. Most of these firms intend to expand their portfolio by 10% to 30%% up to 30%.

Regarding office space requirements 64% of respondents would prefer to work in offices located in buildings that have been certified for environmental governance, social and sustainability (ESG) as well as 52% planned to allocate more than a quarter of the portfolio’s flexible spaces. Flexible space remains a means to improve portfolio agility and companies expect flexible space to comprise one-quarter of their total residential portfolios by the year 2025. That’s increasing from 14% at present,” CBRE’s head of research on occupiers Ada Choi.

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