Expect decentralised government offices and landlords to “up the ante” on amenities equal to those of luxury hotels in a post pandemic working world, say property and employer representatives at Investment Magazine’s Group Insurance Summit.

Speaking on the topic The Future of Work: Persistent Change or Back to Normal?, Knight Frank National Head of Leasing Andrea Roberts says premium and prime landlords are already offering and would need to “up the ante” on luxury-style amenities to lure tenants and their employees back to the CBD from their remote, working-from-home environment.

“In the secondary market, if you don’t provide amenity for people to come and use your building, cheap rent isn’t going to be enough enticement to resolve the issue,’’ Roberts says.

The competitive premium and prime office markets had begun offering tenants and their employees an amenity checklist equal to luxury hotel offerings such as bike parks, hair dryers and hair straighteners in change rooms, and multi-function spaces for prayer rooms, meditation, yoga and gym classes.

The onus will be on landlords to provide an experience that encourages employees back to the city centre after they have enjoyed better work and life balance at home, she says.

Lance Schembri, Aware Super’s State Manager Employer Engagement in Victoria and Western Australia, says many back office government employees who have worked from home during the pandemic, will want a combination of office and home time in the future.

He says Aware Super employers had front-line essential staff in health, service, education, police and emergency sectors but also had a number of office-bound government departments who worked from home during the pandemic.

“What we’re hearing at the moment is we’re certainly not expecting those employers to go back to prior to Christmas and the view that having a centralised CBD building is not one (government) departments are moving to,’’ he says.

“It’s decentralised approach looked around the state and metropolitan Melbourne to work in tandem to working from home.

Schembri says the Victorian government, in particular, was looking at using regional Victoria more and was starting to move away from large CBD-based buildings and “getting people back into the community.’’

“I certainly believe it will be a combination but what that looks like now is in early planning,’’ he says.

Meanwhile current CBD building occupancy rates in Australia’s capital cities were strong in Perth (77 per cent),  Adelaide (73per cent),  Canberra (62per cent) and Brisbane (61per cent) with workers in Sydney (40per cent) and Melbourne (7per cent) not expected to return to the city for two to three months, Roberts says.

She sees fewer desks in CBD buildings in future as landlords adapt to the hybrid model of more people working from home more regularly.

“I feel there will won’t be a need for as many desks and more a club-style arrangement like the Qantas lounge (in airports) where people can sit together … and more areas in offices where teams are talking and working together.’’

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