With the ease of travel restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, companies begin to resume their activity in the headquarters located in office buildings, but with only 40 percent of employees in a first phase, according to a survey of real estate consulting company Cushman & Wakefield Echinox.
Thus, if during the period of isolation at home imposed by the authorities, only 4 percent of the employees continued their activity from the office, the occupancy degree of office buildings will ten times increase in the next period. However, more than half of the employees working in the services area will continue, at least for a while, to work from home, according to the survey applied between May 21 and 29 on a number of 33 companies in Bucharest and Cluj with a a total of over 17,000 employees working in office buildings.
Half of these companies have returned or will return to the office with a significant share of employees during June, almost 20 percent of companies scheduled their return in September, while 13 percent of the surveyed companies, especially small and medium, intend to return to the office only at the beginning of next year.
In this context, 30 percent of the interviewed companies say that in the next 12 months they will need less office space, 61 percent of the companies cover their office needs with the already contracted spaces, while 9 percent of the companies expect to need extra space.
“Companies will continue to practice a mix of office work and home work for a number of reasons, such as the desire of some companies to test the efficiency of working from home on a longer period of time or the more cautious attitude of some employees, who prefer to avoid as much as possible the crowded places, such as the public transport. The most important aspect is related to the fact that, at an average density of about 10 sqm / employee – the local market standard before the pandemic, it is impossible to return to the office with all employees in compliance with the recommended distance rules. Thus, we consider that this percentage of 40% is close to the maximum capacity of the office spaces already rented in the current context, reconfirming the need for office premises and even the potential to resize them by taking over additional spaces,” says Madalina Cojocaru, Partner, Office Agency, Cushman & Wakefield Echinox.
The stock of modern offices in Bucharest and Cluj reaches almost 3.5 million square meters, hosting over 300,000 employees in various fields, such as IT, telecom, financial services (banks – insurance), professional services (lawyers – consultants), media, etc.