International businesses will evaluate the experiences of the past year under the pandemic conditions and look to enhance their workplaces to re-engage employees, Knight Frank said in a report based on a survey of global firms.

Firms will embrace a new era of agile working by enhancing their corporate offices, not abandoning them, the consultancy said.

Over the next three years, 47 percent of firms will seek to improve the quality of the space they occupy, and 46 percent will seek to improve the amenities available to employees within the workplace.

More than half (55 percent) of the respondents said they will create more collaborative spaces within their offices and 54 percent said they will implement desk-sharing or ‘hot desking’ over the same period, despite COVID-19 having largely prevented desk-sharing over the past year. 

The Middle East too over recent years there has been concerted e?orts to move towards a more sustainable future, particularly in relation to the built environment, with a strong focus on the development of green and sustainable buildings.

Video: Life beyond COVID-19: What will offices be like?

“In the real estate development space, whilst we have certainly seen a shift from relatively carbon intensive practices to a more green agenda undoubtedly, a tremendous amount more must be done to ensure that the future of the built environment is truly sustainable and therefore futureproof, both for society and as an asset class,” Andrew Love, Partner, Head of Occupier Services & Commercial Agency said.

According to Faisal Durrani, Head of Middle East Research at Knight Frank, across the region’s commercial market, sustainability and smart technology are the two areas where concerted e?orts have been made, with many GCC countries setting out ambitious clean energy plans.

Green credentials for buildings are already growing in significance amongst businesses, developers and investors and will likely determine the future lettability and saleability of assets as the green agenda becomes increasingly mainstream, Durrani  said.

“As we start to emerge from the wave of global lockdowns, businesses are gearing up for the ongoing war for talent, which is where we see offices being a key differentiator in attracting and retaining staff. With the largest firms putting a higher value on the health, safety and wellbeing of their people, being greener will be a key part of that,” he added.

(Writing by Brinda Darasha; editing by Seban Scaria)

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