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Renovate to innovate: Revamping the office for future success

Hybrid work, Work from home, Flexible work, Office real estate

Learnings from the Covid-19 pandemic have led companies to develop new ways of working and engaging their people, redefining the purpose of the office along the way. As the rise of “hybrid” work empowers employees to work where they deem best for their performance and productivity, the role of the workplace continues to evolve and will open up avenues for innovation through office renovation.


The Covid-19 pandemic has pushed companies to reassess the use of the office as the nature of their operations and activities changed. Before the pandemic, most office spaces were designed based on functionality: desks, floor plans, and furniture were arranged on the premise that performance and productivity were directly proportionate to time spent by the employees in the office. Other pre-pandemic office design trends included modernization, densification, and configuration towards a more “open” layout as the barrier between senior leaders and young associates gradually subsided.

This trend was somewhat altered when, during the height of lockdowns, many organizations transitioned to a work-from-home (WFH) arrangement. For several companies, employees’ productivity and performance remained at an acceptable level with the WFH setup. While openness towards remote work was boosted by the pandemic (perhaps out of necessity), the office remains essential for face-to-face interactions, which are still needed to cultivate culture and personal connections among employees.

In fact, many Filipinos have expressed their willingness to return to the office. In a study conducted by PhilCare from September 4 to 20, 2021, 48.7% of survey respondents said they were willing to take on hybrid work arrangements in the next 6 months, 35% said they would continue going back to their workplaces, while 16% would work entirely from their homes. In terms of current work arrangements, 49.9% of survey respondents said they work entirely in their respective work sites, 36.2% work both at home and on-site, while 13.9% work entirely at home.

Given this, companies are starting to reassess how their employees should interact with the office space. As such, the design features of the office should evolve in accordance with shifting work dynamics, such as hybrid working arrangements that look to be here to stay. Thus, companies can innovate by renovating the office based on how they will engage their employees and conduct their activities.

Why renovate

Many business leaders believe that hybrid work is here to stay. However, one challenge with this type of setup is that office needs are highly fluid as the number of employees coming in on a particular day may vary. Pre-pandemic, employees could come into the office and occupy their assigned desk. Designing the office and planning operations were more straightforward when the number of people in the office did not drastically fluctuate from day to day (not to mention surges in Covid-19 cases that led people to stay at home and create more uncertainty). Now that more employees are being given the option to work anywhere, this level of flexibility creates more complexity in planning the optimal office ecology. With this, businesses must reassess and reconfigure their offices to adapt to these unprecedented changes, retain a sense of safety in the workplace, and create the ideal work environment that will lead to better performance and employee engagement.

Thus, Colliers recommends for companies to evaluate the possible benefits of renovating the office with the following considerations in mind:

1. Ventilation and air-filtration systems

Health experts have emphasized the importance of ventilation to minimize the risk of transmitting Covid-19. The absence of proper air circulation allows coronavirus-containing aerosols to stay suspended in the air longer than they should and reduces the safety of the workplace.

2. Office ecology

How different teams should be positioned relative to each other and how you plan for them to interact is crucial when planning out your renovation as the goal is to make the workplace more productive and efficient across different business functions.

3. Current pain points of your office space

Assess the condition of your workstations, fit-out, electrical systems, and plumbing to see what needs work. Talk to your employees – they’ll be more than willing to provide feedback on how the office can help them work better.

4. Transform every space to a workspace with collaboration areas

Consider huddle or informal meeting areas to encourage collaboration while maximizing the use of your office space.

5. Wellness areas

Allocate spaces where employees can conduct activities that are beneficial to their well-being such as a quiet “inspiration” room where employees can take a breather or even open spaces where groups can exercise together.

6. Renovation costs

Talk to a project consultant/fit-out contractor to conduct a test fit-out to determine what needs improvement in your office space and what solutions can be implemented while staying within your budget.

Colliers View

As a semblance of normalcy starts to return in the Philippines and around the world, employers are already implementing or planning their employees’ return to office. The office setup will shift to a workplace that integrates collaboration and social interaction while still prioritizing everyone’s well-being and adapting to the flexibility that employees now have and want to maintain.

Renovating the office is part of a larger shift that companies must be proactive towards: changing work dynamics, cultural norms, and a competitive hiring landscape where the office says a lot about the company. Colliers encourages companies to reassess their current office in terms of space optimization and flexibility to changing cultural/operational considerations. How people collaborate and perform work have changed forever and the workplace must be agile and adaptable to these changing work dynamics.

In a piece by Jim Keane and Todd Heiser published in Harvard Business Review, they wrote that companies that choose a “wait-and-see” approach risk frustrating their employees who find that the old office no longer supports the new ways they work. This in turn jeopardizes the competitive advantages of bringing people together. Companies that adapt to the changes brought upon by unprecedented events will be able to retain their existing talent and even attract the best ones. Colliers believes that how the workplace is designed and used reflects the behavior and culture of an organization. Companies are encouraged to capitalize on the opportunity to renovate based on insights gained during the pandemic, which will ultimately drive innovation towards success and people engagement.

Related Experts

Dom Fredrick Andaya

Senior Director

Office Services


Dom began his career in Colliers International as a Research Assistant for the Research and Consultancy Division in February 2007.  In that capacity, he was responsible in gathering and organizing of data needed to generate commissioned market reports and quarterly release of The Knowledge, Colliers’ Market Review publication. 

He moved to Tenant Representation – Office Services Department in 2013. As a manager, he was tasked to handle various office space requirements of multinational clients. He was promoted to Associate Director in 2016 leading the Office Services team to hit the revenue target in the midst of leadership
transition. He started heading the Tenant Representation business as the Director in 2017 in charge of ensuring the growth and profitability of this business line. He helped the team stabilize in 2017 amidst market slowdown due to geopolitical concerns that affected the offshoring and outsourcing growth in the country and still achieved 18% profitability.

In 2018, he led the Tenant Representation to exceed the revenue target by 60% and achieve a 48% profit margin.

View expert

Patricia Cruz

Associate Director

Office Services- Tenant Representation


Patricia began her career in marketing as key accounts manager for a multi-line and multi account distributor and eventually assigned for trade activation for below the line marketing events. She later on was tapped to head the international partnership of a non-profit group in Taipei and spearheaded events with top firms, chambers and various gov’t. institutions.

Coming back to the Philippines she found herself in the realm of Real Estate and the rest was history. She has been in the industry for over a decade working on the various segments in the field. Effectively working with top firms in the industry servicing top fortune 500 firms.

She also pioneered one of the top serviced offices in the Philippines and grew the operations into several locations in less than 3 years with 80%-90% occupancy.

In 2021 she joined Colliers Philippines as Associate Director under the office services in which she leads her own team. Apart from this role, she heads the client engagement division and oversees various initiatives of their department.

Currently she is finishing her Master’s in Corporate Real Estate with Specialization in Workplace Solutions.

View expert

Miguel Bengzon

Assistant Manager

Office Services


Miguel joined Colliers Philippines in late 2015 as a Market Analyst for the Office Services team. He was previously responsible for updating the department’s database and supplying market data for the quarterly property reports produced by the company. In 2017, Miguel transitioned into the role of a sales broker under the Tenant Representation department and has since serviced several key clients.

View expert

Pia Lorenzo


Office Services


Pia Lorenzo has been a Market Analyst for the Tenant Representation team since 2019. As part of the department's internal research team, she is responsible for gathering and analyzing real estate office market data and preparing relevant and up-to-date presentations  such as the Quarterly Office Market Report.  She actively contributes in creating client presentations, research materials, and studies that clients need.

By analyzing the Tenant Representation business, she comes up with suggestions on how to improve efficiencies and take advantage of foreseeable trends in the market and competition.

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Vincent Bisuna

Assistant Manager

Office Services- Tenant Representation


Vincent Bisuna initially joined Colliers in 2019 as a Research intern under Advisory Services. In this role, he was responsible in gathering and organizing of data needed to generate commissioned market reports. 

Prior to returning to Colliers in 2021,  Vincent held a lead role executing the operations, marketing, sales, and account management of valuable digital solutions that provide organizations a way to achieve their compliance and governance goals. He has delivered excellent service and expertise to his clients which include some of the top corporations in the Philippines such as the Philippine Stock Exchange, the Aboitiz Companies, ICTSI, Metrobank, Metro Pacific Investments, and the Lopez Group of Companies. 

Now back to where he started, he is looking forward to using his experience in bringing fresh insight and making meaningful contributions as an Assistant Manager for Office Services - Tenant Representation.

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