Publications

- December 1, 2021: Vol. 15, Number 11

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Still standing: A sluggish office revival does not necessarily spell wholesale changes to the sector in Europe

by James Wallace

The pandemic has thrown office investors and occupiers a curveball scarcely contemplated before 2020. The health crisis has catapulted remote working from a trendy, flexible benefit, to the dominant working pattern among office workers across the globe. It has powered behavioural change, which has outlived government-mandated quarantine policies, as people prefer the work-life balance of working from home (WFH).

The remote-working trend has slowed the recovery in central business district (CDB) office demand and raised a debate over the future purpose and utility of the office and corporate headquarters. Depressed labour participation, attributed to enduring virus fears, childcare priorities and, until recently, furlough schemes, have all disincentivised return. Investors are mulling to what extent these trends will permanently reduce long-term net office demand. Furthermore, when a reversal completes, occupiers will re-evaluate how they want to use office space and corporate

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