How can companies adapt to the new world of hybrid work?

Our experts discuss how the world of work is changing post-pandemic and how companies can adapt to hybrid working and attract the best talent.

June 16, 2023
  • Dan Bayley
  • Kelly Hamer
  • Guzman Yarza Blache

The world of work is changing, with employees demanding more flexibility and better office amenities.

Post-Covid, what does the working landscape look like?

Guzman de Yarza Blache: Increasingly hybrid, but with different patterns globally. In Asia-Pacific, workers are going to the office more frequently; but less so in Europe and particularly the US. In the UK it differs depending on the region and company type. It’s a complex picture that’s difficult to summarise – but, generally, people are going to the office less than was originally planned or expected.

So how does an occupier decide what the “best” office is in this new hybrid world?

GYB: They should adopt a people-centric approach to real estate. We always tell our customers to listen to what their people tell them about their office needs and wants. There’s no other way to get it right.

Dan Bayley: ‘The best office’ is one that has been defined by collaboration within the organisation, then designed, delivered and operated properly. Critically, business management must then commit to the use of that office.

What types of offices are proving most resilient?

DB: Service operators offering a flexible lease are attracting companies that don’t want a long-term commitment to real estate. Office location-wise, the City and the West End are doing well in central London. East London, despite its improved connectivity, hasn’t recovered so well — although I think it will in time. Suburban markets and out-of-town business parks are finding the environment much tougher.

How are companies adapting to hybrid working?

GYB: Corporates are demanding less space, but better space. They want a smaller footprint, but are willing to pay more for a renovated building that is close to good public transport and with good ESG and sustainability credentials. There’s also been a shift in office design from the ‘me’ space to the more social ‘we’ space. To tempt employees in it has to be an attractive destination with lots of good amenities, programmes and technology. The workplace is becoming more complex. It used to be a workstation and meeting rooms. Now it’s a whole ecosystem.

How are companies looking for and finding the right talent?

Kelly Hamer: The dynamic is changing. If less people go to university in future because of cost, employees could come direct from schools or colleges. So companies will have to build good relationships with public institutions to continually attract the best talent. Plus, to secure that talent, they will have to offer flexibility. A project we carried out in the Republic of Ireland found that around 75% of applicants didn’t ask about salaries. They asked how flexible the role was. That’s the new reality.

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