More work needed in commercial properties to cater to modern hybrid workforce

However, strong sense of collaboration found between owners and occupiers

More work needed in commercial properties to cater to modern hybrid workforce

With many Kiwis working from home due to several COVID-19 lockdowns, some feel a sense of office nostalgia. However, a recent JLL New Zealand (JLL NZ) survey found that more work is still needed to cater to a modern hybrid workforce.

JLL NZ surveyed more than 200 commercial property owners and occupiers and office employees across New Zealand’s three major centres and found that 85% of the traditional office workforce wants to return to the office for between two and five days a week, with only 2% seeking a permanent transition to working from home.

However, the survey found that work is still needed to bridge the gap between current and optimal workplace environments for the emerging hybrid workforce, with employees who responded to the survey saying they would like to see greater spacing between workstations, more meeting rooms for collaboration, and designated no-meeting quiet times during the day to concentrate on work. They also deemed longer days and shorter weeks, and access to tech at home, integral to optimising productivity from the hybrid workforce model.

JLL NZ head of research Gavin Read said the survey confirmed that office occupiers are increasingly seeking locations close to travel hubs and public amenities such as bars, shops, restaurants, and gyms.

“We’ve seen this ‘flight to quality’ trend come to define the office sector in New Zealand. Location is a vital component in streamlining the workday experience, and this will become critical for employers to be able to attract and retain talent from the emerging hybrid workforce,” Read said.

Read more: Advisers prepare to return to the office

While the survey found that more work is still needed to adapt to contemporary demand, it also revealed a strong sense of collaboration between commercial property owners and occupiers and an acknowledgement of changing requirements and expectations.

Over 90% of owners said they provided some level of assistance to their tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic, with around two-thirds reducing net rent. Looking ahead, nearly 80% said they are considering either maintaining or lifting occupancy, with 42% considering inducements such as contribution to fit out.

“The occupier responses to the survey fully support our views that strong collaboration between owner and occupiers provides the best outcomes,” Read said.

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