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Occupier Trends: Sustainability

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2020 has seen many unprecedented changes and disruptions, both in the workplace and our way of working. While many trends have been accelerated, the two main themes for occupiers are sustainability and wellness.


The events in 2020 brought on some unprecedented and perhaps inexorably, a multitude of changes and disruptions, along with accelerating some trends. Two of the themes that we see will be driving the agenda from the occupiers' perspective are, namely, sustainability and wellness.

 

Reality Check 

Most of the occupiers have sent home their employees — either on a part-time or full-time basis — at least until the global situation is well under control. This goes together with ensuring the safety of their people and of course, business continuity. The risks of spreading the infection needs to be managed properly with effective measures, and so far it appears that employees are enjoying the option of working remotely, which allows them to save time on commutes. 

 

"New demand will continue to be driven by the technology sector as these companies are seeking to expand or relocate more functions to Singapore."

 

Landlords have to look to this as an opportunity to make their buildings more sustainable. A major reason could be to better manage the operating costs for the buildings in the long run, but most importantly, there is an immediate focus on better hygiene and air quality within the building to ensure that their tenants are safe.  Some of the first questions our clients globally are asking are "Does this building provide a safe environment for our employees? Will our employees feel safe coming back to the office? Would this entice them to go back to the office?".

New demand will continue to be driven by the technology sector as these companies are seeking to expand or relocate more functions to Singapore. While the workforce may not be back in full capacity, those with expansion plans are getting ready to welcome more employees by redefining their office space and adjusting their real estate strategy. A good example is Amazon taking over three floors of Citigroup office space at Asia Square 1.

 

"With more millennials entering the workforce and more competition for talent, there is an increasing need for a company to provide a conducive and well-located workplace."

 

The Sustainable Agenda 

While Occupiers continue to manage their operating costs prudently, talent attraction and retention remain one of their key priorities. With more millennials entering the workforce and more competition for talent, there is an increasing need for a company to provide a conducive and well-located workplace. This is why larger technology companies will not stinge on rents and go for the best buildings in a strategic location. 

Rightfully, occupiers are also placing a big emphasis on sustainable features in their office space, wellness, safety, air quality, amongst others and those factors will influence their decision-making process when choosing a new office. Most office buildings in Singapore are certified BCA Green Mark and incorporate some green and sustainability features, and those who do not have any types of green features may lose out on the opportunity to attract tenants. 

Companies are also looking at how they can create an indoor environment that focuses on employee health and well-being, which could drive more productivity in the long term and differentiate themselves as an Employer of Choice. 

 

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