Firms ponder major shifts in workspace abound

By Steve Umidha
Wednesday, May 5th, 2021
Office workspace. Photo/Courtesy
In summary
    • Companies put their staff on reduced pay, condensed or abandoned office space to avoid losses during the trying period that also saw private companies in Nairobi, including manufacturers and media houses, scale down their operations, with some staff ordered to work remotely.

The workplace will in next three years witness a significant transformation as most multinationals prepare for life post-Covid pandemic.

Latest research by Knight Frank estimates that 65 per cent of business entities with foreign presence are looking to adjust the workplace, taking into account the changing operating environment.

Knight Frank’s second edition of its Our Space report expects new workplace dynamics to emerge in the long term.

They expect to see a safer, sustainable and smarter offices, even though the physical office will remain essential to corporate culture.

Age of agile working

“There is a mood of change. Global firms are looking beyond the pandemic and are focused on how their workplaces can enhance corporate culture and re-engage employees in a new age of agile working,” said Knight Frank’s William Beardmore-Gray, the global head of occupier services and commercial agency.

The survey released Monday observed that of 400 firms that took part in the research, majority will embrace a new era of agile working by enhancing their corporate offices, not abandoning them.

The need to improve office amenities or adjust workplace strategies will see up to one in four firms relocate their corporate headquarters after the pandemic.

An estimated 38 per cent of those firms are likely to relocate their corporate headquarters (HQ) within such a move according to the report expected to set the scene for significant activity in the office market and competition for the highest quality and best located space in the coming years.

“There will be a flight to quality space, with 92 per cent of firms planning to increase or retain the same level of quality in their offices.

In total, 65 percent of firms plan to grow or stabilize their current level of space,” reads the report in part.

Operations in several corporations both local and international, came to a grinding halt as workers were quietly sent home when the pandemic hit early last year, amid reduced work and falling revenues.

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