Asia-Pacific office spaces plan for transformation

Cao Qian
More than 80 percent of JLL clients are looking at office alternatives or redesigning their workplaces to protect businesses and people after lockdowns ease.
Cao Qian

Companies in the Asia-Pacific region are expected to take bold steps in office transformation such as considering decentralization scenarios or redesigning their workplaces to protect their businesses and people following the easing of lockdown restrictions, according to a report released on Thursday by international property adviser JLL.

More than 80 percent of its clients have started to explore alternatives to keep their businesses operational or have carried out certain modifications to their offices, JLL said, citing a recent survey.

"Office reentry will be a gradual and multi-phased journey that is likely to evolve as economies open up again," said Martin Hinge, executive managing director for project and development services at JLL Asia Pacific. "As employees head back to offices, our clients' No. 1 priority is to ensure that they're welcoming people back to a safe and healthy environment."

According to JLL, space planning solutions, tech-enabled experiences and operational functions are some of the short- to long-term priorities for companies as they navigate the reentry journey.

"In the short term, organizations will need to find ways to deliver quick adaptations to the workplace, ensuring safety and comfort for employees," said Gonzalo Portellano, head of portfolio design at JLL Asia Pacific. "However, in the long term, business leaders will face decisions about their workspace usage against a backdrop where social distancing may be required for a protracted period."

Organizations may have to decide how to plan and optimize their office footprint in a cost-effective manner in the long run and decentralized working hubs may soon be on the rise, as they enable remote working from different locations, reducing the commute time and increasing convenience for employees.

Companies may start shifting their offices from prime locations to smaller and more versatile hubs across the city. These tech-enabled hubs can be located in areas supported by good infrastructure, public transport connectivity, and that offer lower rents, Portellano said.

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