73% of office occupants in India are considering a hybrid working model: CBRE survey

73% of office occupants in India are evaluating hybrid working arrangements in the future. The trend is emerging as companies mostly shift to flexible working models post-pandemic, according to CBRE South Asia Pvt Ltd.

Findings from the CBRE 2022 India Office Occupier Survey indicate that 78% of occupiers highlighted employee health and well-being as the most important element while facilitating a return to work.

The flexible working approach is a blend of four models that includes remote working just in case for specific circumstances, 3+ office days per week, an equal mix of office and remote working, and remote working for 3+ days per week. About 38% of respondents said they would consider an equal mix of in-office and remote work, while the remaining 35% of respondents allow more than 3 office days per week. The report also highlights that technology companies and BFSIs considering implementing hybrid work policies would primarily prefer an “equal mix of in-office and remote work” or “mostly in-office”.

Adoption of Activity-Based Working (ABW), Hotdesking and Targeted Mobility (TM) is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. Among flexible seating options, hotdesking ~ has grown by about 100% over the past two years. According to the survey, around 44% of companies retained dedicated seating arrangements in 2022, well below the 81% of companies that did so before the pandemic. The report further highlighted that technology would be key to the adoption of flexible working models, with 59% of respondents in India intending to increase their investment in WorkTech to achieve these goals.

According to the survey results, occupiers are considering sustainability and well-being as part of their strategy to accelerate the return to the office as ESG principles gain momentum. 52% of respondents are willing to move to occupy ESG-compliant buildings, while a further 7% are willing to move even with a premium tenancy. Office demand is expected to continue to grow as 62% of respondents in India intend to increase the size of their property portfolios over the next three years, while a third of respondents indicated consolidation in less than locations, while meeting flexible demand via coworking spaces as part of their flexible portfolio strategy.

Commenting on the same, Anshuman Magazine, Chief Executive Officer – India, South East Asia, Middle East and Africa, CBRE said, “The return to the office for several companies in India is already underway, with occupations variables currently seen in cities as well as sectors, however, with the widespread adoption of hybrid working since the pandemic, many companies are still considering the degree of flexibility needed to improve employee productivity and connectivity.

“Furthermore, with short-term rental sentiment already improving – a trend that is expected to continue over the coming quarters – long-term portfolio growth expectations remain positive. “Increased rental activity is leading developers to focus on large, high-quality buildings to differentiate their assets and attract occupiers,” he added.

Ram Chandnani, Managing Director, Advisory & Transactions Services, CBRE India, said, “Companies considering long-term adoption of hybrid working should provide employees with formal guidance regarding working hours and eligibility. Greater coordination between support functions such as HR and IT and their alignment with the business would also be crucial.

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