Orange County Partnership - News

Global Survey Reveals Remote Work is Here to Stay

A global survey of office property companies worldwide finds that the office experience will be very different post pandemic.


Global property technology firm Equiem surveyed some 175,000 occupiers involving more than 9,000 companies in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia. A majority of respondents indicated that remote work will remain a viable option, particularly because at-home workers are as or more productive than those housed at the office. However, at-home workers do miss the day-to-day office environment.


The survey, conducted in April and May of this year, after COVID-19 hit the US, collected more than 4,500 survey and poll responses. The firm’s “Global Office Tenant Report COVID-19 Edition" released on Aug. 3 also included interviews with owners and managing agents representing more than 20 commercial landlords.


Some of the highlights of the report included that a total of 82% of occupiers reported to be as or more productive at home, however 45% missed conversations with colleagues. In addition, 56% desired better work setups, 25% wished for better access to home health and wellness options and 18% needed better access to work-from-home resources.


Approximately 60% of occupiers won’t return to office until “it feels safe.” Critical factors for them to return are information and communication. Upon returning, more than 80% of occupiers expect up-to-date information on active in-building COVID cases, new safety procedures (including use of facilities), and cleaning procedures from their landlords or company. In addition, more than 60% also expect current office density information to be available.


Gabrielle McMillan, Equiem CEO, said of the report’s findings: “The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown period has accelerated the evolution of the office. More occupiers will work from home after lockdown ends, therefore owners need to be even more proactive in understanding their needs and delivering solutions to address them. They will need to rebuild trust with occupiers, reposition the office as a safe and productive environment, while being able to communicate with tenants who are in the office and at home.”


Equiem stated that landlords had mixed predictions about the future with 75% of landlords envisioning a medium transition with business as usual by the end of the year, whereas 17% of landlords see a short transition by July/Aug.), and 8% see a long and slow transition—12 months or more—ramping up to a new standard of security and cleaning requirements.


Other key findings of the survey were:


  • Occupiers who worked in-office during lockdown anticipate a greater risk of infection once everyone returns. Forty-five percent believe the office presents a low to very low risk of infection during lockdown, with this number dropping to 22% when lockdown ends.


  • Tenant experience platforms have become important channels to acquire information for occupiers.


  • Remote work is here to stay. The survey found 65% of occupiers expect to work from home once a week or more once restrictions are lifted, compared to the 28% who were doing so before. Landlords similarly agree that there will likely be an increase in remote working post-lockdown.


  • Australian occupiers believe they are more productive than before the lockdown, while US and UK occupiers believe they are as productive as before.


  • Effective density management is key for both occupiers and landlords. Approximately 48% of occupiers believe changes are required to reduce the likelihood of incidental contact, while 58% of landlords are concerned about controlling and monitoring social distancing, particularly in elevators and reception areas.


  • Building occupancy remains extremely low. The survey indicated 72% of office buildings had less than 10% occupancy, while 17% reported occupancy between 10% to 20%


  • Landlord’s and property manager’s biggest concerns include adhering to social distancing measures, managing elevator access, increased cleaning and maintaining air quality in the building.


  • Changes planned to accommodate tenants returning to work include installing cardless entry, new/improved air filtration systems, changes to communal spaces and frequent cleaning of elevators and amenity spaces.


To access the Equiem’s full Global Office Tenant Report COVID-19 Edition, go to: