A postpandemic path for PH offices
As with most real estate sectors, the Philippine office property market, too, was affected by the pandemic. Admittedly, it saw rising vacancies and declining rents as companies started to implement work-from-home arrangements at the height of the COVID-19 health crisis last year.
But as the government starts inoculating the local workforce, many companies have started to implement a hybrid model—a mix of onsite and remote work—while waiting for the country to achieve herd immunity. What many call as “green shoots of recovery” are also becoming apparent for the office sector, with Colliers Philippines even claiming in a report in April that it sees net take-up recovering by the end of 2021.
“Colliers saw the highest transaction level in the first quarter since the lockdown began last year. However, the surge in cases in Q1 2021 halted the gains. In our view, Metro Manila’s office market demand recovery hinges on the pace of the COVID-19 vaccination program. Increasing vaccinations should reduce the number of COVID-19 cases and bolster confidence for companies to return to the office.” And with this comes an expected eventual increase in the net take up of office spaces as well.
Today, many companies are preparing their offices for the eventual full return of their workforce onsite—most especially amid the clamor for healthier, more sustainable workspaces that ensure employees’ well-being.
As KMC Savills noted in its research in December 2020: “Workplace strategists believe that 2021 will be a better year for the push for sustainability in commercial buildings and spaces. More people realize after the pandemic that office buildings should no longer be just “containers” for people but rather an experience supercharger where most people satisfy their needs for socialization and human-to-human connections. The function of the office should become less about maximizing workplace density and geared toward the quality of the space and the experience it delivers.”
Here are the views of experts from JLL Philippines and Cushman & Wakefield.
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