In our recent chat with the team at Unispace, we talked about property market trends, getting ahead of client needs and understanding workplace data.
Tell us a bit about yourselves. Who are Unispace?
In simple terms, Unispace are a global workplace strategy, design, and construction firm - we deliver projects end-to-end. We’ve been in the space since 2010 and we’re passionate about revolutionising the workplace delivery model to get better outcomes for our clients. Everything we do is backed by comprehensive data.
Can you share a little bit about what’s changed in-market, and what’s changing?
Across capital cities, peak hour traffic was more-or-less back to normal by the end of 2020, with public transport patronage down 21% post-pandemic, according to Transurban. We know from our own data that more than half of all employees would prefer to work from home 2-3 days per week, and this trend is likely to stay. The strongest benefit employees perceive about working remotely is the time and money saved by skipping their commute, indicating a need to ease the friction of this journey.
Over the past 12 months, we’ve also seen unexpected changes in the office market. From our own client data, we know that portfolios are changing – 47% plan to make changes to their portfolio, with 27% of respondents looking to decrease their real estate footprint. While 30% don’t plan on changing their portfolio, they are looking to optimise the space they have to suit flexible ways of working.
Our most recent Unispace Client Pulse Survey also found that 71% of APAC clients anticipate a “return to a new normal” by the end of Q3 2021, with 43% citing workplace strategy as their biggest concern.
Across the clients you work with, are you seeing any broad trends in their approach to workplace strategy?
The key (and most concerning) trend we’re seeing is that many organisations have no clear plan in place to manage their portfolio into the future, needing trusted expert partners to help them to reevaluate their strategy and explore potential property scenarios.
In the face of ongoing global workplace change, it’s natural to want to hit pause on decision-making, but in fact, it’s important to get a strategy in place that allows businesses to pivot as needed, especially when you consider what we’re seeing in-market:
- 63% of employees feel that going into work contributes to a sense of community
- 58% of them say that being in the office gives them a greater connection to the organisation
- 35% of companies are looking to develop new spaces or completely reimagine their existing environments.
What is it that clients are looking for in the current market?
They’re not only looking for opportunities to improve occupancy and space utilisation, but also the research and insights to inform data-driven decision-making across key stakeholder groups.
With more than half of the APAC respondents to our Pulse Survey looking to launch new workplace projects by the end of 2021, organisations are asking themselves:
- What is the experience journeywe can create for our people, clients, visitors and potential recruits?
- How can we use of what’s already in place, better?
- How can we future-proof our property decisions and build in flexibility and adaptability?
Answering this need, we deploy our market research, client intelligence and analysis of global trends to inform and support these critical, long-term property decisions that occupiers are facing, providing them with industry-leading intelligence.
Why is understanding property and workplace data so important for property professionals?
With greater uncertainty, occupiers and landlords are now seeking greater real estate flexibility, and workplace strategies that aim to define the purpose of the office have evolved significantly. Understanding broader trends and market needs is important for property professionals because it reassures potential and existing clients. It also means that you’re prepared for any changes that crop up in future.