As pandemic restrictions are being lifted and a return to the office starts to take shape, property and facility managers are listening to the needs of their tenants and adapting spaces. What does 2022 hold for these offices that will see many tenants adjusting from a work-from-home environment to trial runs of new hybrid working models? Many questions remain unanswered, but one thing is clear already: in many cases, flexibility will be key.
Faced with the immediate needs of tenants, what will landlords will need to adapt. A partial return to the office could result in smaller space requirements for tenants, while others might want increased floor space for open concepts that allow for social distancing or other reconfigurations. For instance, tenants will be seeking spaces designed to encourage more socialization and collaboration including amenities such as breakout rooms and recreation rooms. Also important are health and wellness characteristics such as increased ventilation for air quality, improved lighting, additional greenery, or quiet rooms.
As landlords try to meet tenant demands for office space, there may be opportunities for reconfiguration of existing offices into mixed-use projects. Many owners will also be reinvesting in buildings with a focus on sustainability improvements. Such investments will meet evolving demands from tenants and create more sustainability-focused real estate investments for the market.
As of now, the preference of most workers is the hybrid model. The next few months might very well provide long-awaited answers on how successful the return to office will be, but it will be the next few years that will determine how this asset class will evolve.
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