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Office environments continue to be vital for successful business operations

87% of respondents believe a return to the workplace is essential for successful business operations

77% of participants preferred to conduct team, client, and one-on-one meetings in an office setting 81% of those polled found the office to be best suited to undertake group projects and tasks Reviewing documents and conducting phone or video calls are tasks better done at home

Savills, the leading global real estate advisors, today announced the results of their Office Fit Survey 2021, a study carried out to understand how perceptions around workplaces have changed since the pandemic. The survey revealed a strong preference among respondents for returning to a predominantly office-based work environment but with a fair degree of flexibility.

The Savills Office Fit Survey was first launched in 2020 with the goal of providing practical insights and design-led advice to owners and occupiers regarding their workplace strategy during the pandemic. This year’s survey analyzed responses from 100,000 participants including landlords, tenants, and office workers across EMEA to ascertain post-pandemic trends.

Nearly two years since the onset of the pandemic, the physical office space still remains a necessity for companies to operate successfully, according to respondents. However, the majority of respondents believe that there will be a long-term impact on the design and size of the workplace. High-density, open plan workspaces will need to be rethought and reconfigured to allow for agile working. As employees require a space to focus on tasks, engage and collaborate with co-workers, companies will need to create workplaces that can provide them with micro-environments that can facilitate these activities. Instilling a work-life balance is now more critical than ever, with a renewed focus on both physical and mental health.

Steven Morgan, CEO of Savills Middle East said: “The findings of our survey echo the trends we are witnessing around the world, as employers welcome back employees to the workplace while they take a relook at how traditional workplaces are configured. The benefits and preference for the office have clearly emerged – for employers, it is the place where the company’s culture can be developed and protected, and for employees, it is where they can benefit from collaborative opportunities to advance their careers. However, the office must now provide more of the benefits of home working, such as physical health and a better work-life balance, as respondents believe these are better achieved at home.”

 Recognizing the trends emerging around the world, the UAE recently announced changes to its labor laws to better accommodate flexible working patterns that were increasingly adopted during the pandemic. New rules pertaining to part-time and temporary work, freelancing, condensed working weeks, shared job models, self-employment, and notice periods during probation, among others, are designed to protect both employees and employers, and increase the UAE’s competitiveness and appeal to talent around the world.

Richard Paul, Head of Professional Services and Consultancy at Savills said: “The office remains critical, however, there is a growing preference for a flexible, agile, and hybrid workplace. It remains to be seen whether the world returns to work from the office full-time or if hybrid working is here to stay. In any case, businesses have begun to consider providing employees with an environment that motivates them to come to work and feel fulfilled on a personal and professional level.”