The Edge Magazine Vol. 7


The office continues to play a vital role in the workplace, so the key is understanding what is needed from the office and by whom. Throughout the pandemic, workers have shown that they can continue to be productive when working from home. However, this has come at the expense of other aspects of workplace experience. For example, employees who joined their company within the previous year are doing well, outscoring longer-tenured colleagues on over 70% of XSF measures, but remote work has been a drag on personal interaction—especially when it comes to building professional networks and bonding with colleagues. 1 In contrast, mid-tenured employees (3-5 years tenure) appear to be struggling the most with working from home and see the greatest improvements with more frequent office attendance. 2

The challenge for landlords and occupiers is how to inspire employees to choose the office. In simple terms, it will mean creating great spaces and places— placemaking—as employees will expect and require more than an A-grade building with great views. The office is an essential tool in retaining and recruiting talent and communicates a company’s brand and culture. Amenities are now key differentiators, evolving into spaces for tenants to work, socialize and connect with colleagues. Creating communities is now fundamental to the tenant experience and at the heart of a thriving precinct, building or workplace. Consequently, we see communities being created through wellness spaces, tenant apps, partnerships and events.

C. LAMAR SEATS Senior Vice President, FHA Loan Production Greystone PAMELA VAN OS Senior Vice President, Agency Loan Production Greystone JACOB ALBERS Research Manager, Global Think Tank Cushman & Wakefield DAVID BITNER Global Head of Capital Markets Insights Cushman & Wakefield

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With corporates placing a greater emphasis on building quality and amenities, the nature of demand will shift. Inevitably, this will favor newer, higher grade assets with lower-grade assets, especially those for which refurbishment is financially unviable, potentially becoming obsolete. To an extent, this is to Asia Pacific’s advantage with its comparatively young average prime building age. However, risk aversion and supply chain disruptions have meant that building supply pipelines have been pared back with new supply in 2022-23 being below the 2015-19 average in 60% of markets tracked across the region. Against this backdrop, the office in Asia Pacific is far from dead and corporate occupiers will need to be increasingly proactive in deciding their space requirements in light of increasing demand for quality space at a time of more limited supply.

The Asia Pacific office market has shown continued resilience, being the only region to record consecutive quarters of positive net absorption since the onset of the pandemic. Although the near-term economic outlook has become a little more uncertain since the start of the year, office demand is expected to remain robust. Office demand for the full year in 2021 across Asia Pacific’s top 25 markets rebounded to 64 million square feet (msf), which is 60% above 2020 levels. This is due to record demand in Tier 1 markets in mainland China. Demand is expected to increase further to 72 msf—reflective of a stronger recovery and office employment growth across the entire region—before returning to pre-pandemic levels of around 83 msf in 2023. Projected employment growth and the transition to a higher proportion of office-based employment are forecast to more than offset the underlying headwinds from remote working.



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