Mr. Charnwit Pasuwat, Head of Design Development, CBRE Thailand explained, "Over the past five years, the movement of the office market has noticeably changed as organisations' viewpoint regarding workspace becomes more complex. According to CBRE Research, clients' enquiries before 2015 were mainly focused on "office expansion" within their given budget. Between 2015-2019, the trend began to shift to "cost-effectiveness" with 53% reviewing how they could support the growth of their business and headcounts with their existing office space rather than expanding. From 2020 onwards, cost containment and risk mitigation are the key factors for workplace. A number of companies in Asia Pacific expect that by 2025 the trend will shift to some form of remote working.
In 2020, office dependency was challenged by the largest employee remote-working experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Upon returning to the regular workflow, office tenants were not permanently abandoning the concept of office space, but were confident that more can be done to drive workspace efficiency by implementing appropriate workplace strategy.
"The Bangkok office market in the economic weather of 2020 witnessed up to 30% of space consolidation or contraction from businesses such as advertising, medical, automobile and legal. On the contrary, e-commerce and logistics businesses expanded their space up to 100% and up to 200% for technology platform companies as a result of last year's rapid online growth," commented Ms. Roongrat Veeraparkkaroon, Head of Advisory & Transaction Services - Office at CBRE Thailand.
Throughout 2020, most companies reconsidered the plans of their workplace and weighed the options whether to renew or relocate.
Mr. Charnwit added, "Our Workplace Strategy team is in daily contact to assist our clients on workplace strategy. Now, organisations are re-evaluating their business priorities with more realistic expectations to transform their office space effectively. This depends largely on the organisation's nature of work and space utilisation."
"The future function of office space will shift away from its traditional format to a more collaborative and flexible space to respond to organisational and social needs of a growing hybrid workforce as companies plan to maximise their office space usage. The renewed focus in 2021 lies in improving the quality of workplace experience, along with building flexibility to the existing office space. There may be further office trend evolution this year in addition to space optimisation as organisations continue to determine the most appropriate way forward. Workplace strategy for office is a crucial decision for organisations. It does not have an off-the-shelf solution, but requires a comprehensive study and analysis of business, organisation structure and corporate culture." Mr. Charnwit concluded.