Part 1: Return to the Office Series - Predicting the Return to the Office
RETURN TO THE OFFICE FORECAST Best guess for APAC region overall: March/April 2022 – Regional office attendance is expected to trend upwards over the next six months and forecasted to be mostly back to pre-pandemic levels in late Q1 2022 to early Q2 2022. However, the trajectory will not be uniform across the region. Markets across Greater China are already at this level, while Japan, South Korea and Singapore are likely to be next in line and reach this level towards the end of the year or in early 2022. Experience early this year in Australia suggests that workers will continue to embrace flexible working, so employee in-office occupancy may settle at a slightly lower level than before the pandemic. Following the early 2021 path, it is likely that occupancy will start to increase more meaningfully from the current levels in February 2022 as the school year begins following the summer vacation period. Timing for returning to the office in India is also likely to be around the end of Q1, reflecting the timing to achieve herd immunity. The situation is less clear in South East Asia, given the current virus caseload and that many offices remain shut down due to government lockdowns. The vaccine rollout is likely to be the leading indicator for a stronger return to office. The Philippine government is targeting 70% vaccination at the end of March 2022, which is a good proxy for other countries in the South East Asia sub-region.
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