And now, the ‘hybrid’ office

Photo by Manny Pantoja

Employees across Asia Pacific have adapted to extensive work from home arrangements with 68% having to work remotely at the height of the COVID 19 pandemic, but most are eager to return to the office, according to JLL.

This was based on the views of 1,500 employees from five countries across Asia Pacific. 

Among those who worked remotely, 61% said they missed going to the office and would favour a hybrid model combining more flexible work arrangements in the future. 

JLL argues that while employees consistently believed they enjoy the freedom of working from home, they miss the human interaction and face-to-face collaboration that working in a professional office environment provides.

In Singapore, 54% of local respondents missed the office while working from home, citing the lack of social interactions as the biggest factor. 

Millennials in Asia Pacific said they missed the office more than other age groups at 66% and highlighted the office experience’s benefits — human interactions, professional environment, and place for focused work.

“Employees across Asia Pacific have successfully transitioned to remote working, but our interactions also suggest that many now crave the office environment’s cultural and human experience,” said Anthony Couse, JLL’s CEO in Asia Pacific. 

“It is becoming clearer that the office is here to stay, but greater acceptance of remote working will force a new workplace model for many corporations regionally,” said Couse.

According to JLL, the evolving expectations of employees for hybrid work arrangements will have clear implications for corporate real estate in establishing a shared purpose and culture. 

JLL expects offices to be reimagined as social hubs, considering that they provide a culture that can’t be replicated via remote working. Repurposed or redesigned work areas will be needed to provide infrastructure for collaboration among the split teams of remote and on-site staff. 

Also, home offices, co-working places, satellite offices and the office HQ will all have to co-exist – leading to a “truly hybrid” office model. 

“Traditional offices will have to reinvent themselves to stay relevant,” said Chris Archibold, head of leasing at JLL Singapore. “This could drive redevelopment of ageing office assets in the CBD and help shift Singapore’s office landscape towards further decentralisation.”