What do occupiers want from their offices?
Touchless access control and relaxation zones are among the most popular features tenants want from their offices in a post-pandemic world, according to a global survey of workers.
A survey of 3,200 office going workers in the UK, US and Australia by Equiem showed that office users want more technology in their space, but priorities have shifted since the start of the pandemic.
For example, 45% of respondents said that knowing the expected number of people in the office on a given day will be important to them once everyone returns to the workplace – down from 84% in 2020.
Fewer people are concerned about updates on cleaning procedures (56% vs 84% last year) or about Covid cases in the building (67% vs 84%).
When asked what tech would best support a return to the office, the most popular response was touchless (smartphone) access control (54%), followed by regular updates about building policies (48%).
By contrast, only a quarter picked reserving or getting access to shared amenity spaces in their response. This is despite more than half of workers saying companies should adopt a hybrid model of working in the future.
In terms of physical space, the three top priorities for an ideal office were relaxation zones, desks spread farther apart and workout areas.
However, remote working has proven to have staying power. Some 70% of occupiers expect to work from home at least one day a week once the majority of people are vaccinated – up from 65% (though those who said they will never do so has also increased from 6.5% to 8.7%).
A growing number of people also feel more productive at home (46.4% compared to 33.6% last year).
As a result, when asked whether they would change their opinion about remote working if their office was rated as one of the best in the world, 39% of respondents ticked “No, working remotely will always be better for me”.
The office does, nevertheless, have a place in the future of work, with 73% of people seeing it as a place to stay connected to colleagues, while just 4% think it has no purpose anymore.
Gabrielle McMillan, CEO of Equiem, said: “During the pandemic, landlords and office managers have had to listen to their tenants’ concerns, fears and needs unlike ever before, and this will shape the office experience for years to come.
“Going to the office will need to be more experiential and technology-driven for it to be a drawcard, but the positives will be increased connectivity and greater engagement.”