Cushman & Wakefield, in partnership with CoreNet Global, has released new survey results showing the evolution of the workplace from pre-COVID-19, to expectation for a post-COVID-19 return to work.
The survey found that the future of the workplace will benefit by providing office workers with flexibility to work in multiple locations during a typical week. However, 100 percent remote work is not ideal for most employees. According to pre-pandemic data from Gallup, employees working in the office five days a week and those working outside the office five days a week both had lower employee engagement than those utilizing a hybrid model of both remote and in-office work.
“We see a real opportunity for employers to transform the workplace experience with flexible options for employees by offering a variety of locations and experiences to support convenience, functionality and well-being,” said Despina Katsikakis, Cushman & Wakefield’s Total Workplace Global Lead. “Before the pandemic, 59 percent of companies surveyed used an ‘office-first’ model. Now, as we begin to move to a post-pandemic model, the vast majority (81 percent) of companies are looking at hybrid models, with 58% indicating an ‘office-first’ hybrid model where most workers are in the office part of the week and working remotely for a day or two each week.”
A third of survey respondents, including 39 percent of C-suite respondents, expect that companies will allow employees to live anywhere regardless of company office presence. This potentially creates opportunities for companies to draw from previously unavailable labor pools while giving employees greater flexibility.
“Finding qualified talent has always been a heavy lift for companies – especially those in finance and technology. An unanticipated consequence of the forced work-from-home pandemic response is that management has realized how seamless a transition this could be – and that their potential labor pool is not limited to their physical markets,” said Sonali Tare, Senior Director of Content Experience with CoreNet Global. “Improvements in technology—now tested during a crisis—will accommodate more flexibility for office workers and that provides for more remote working in cases where the role allows.”
The pandemic has also accelerated trends in office design and physical layout. The survey found that approaches to everything from assigned seating to collaboration spaces and working in “third spaces” (neither home nor the office) have all significantly changed since the pandemic began.
The full survey can be downloaded from Cushman & Wakefield’s website at
CoreNet Global is a non-profit association, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia (US), representing more than 11,000 executives in 50 countries with strategic responsibility for the real estate assets of large corporations. For more information, visit corenetglobal.org.