Businesses & Financial News

Multinationals prepare for post-pandemic workplace

By Steve Umidha

The next three years will witness significant transformation in workplaces for multinationals as businesses prepare for life in the post coronavirus pandemic era.

According to the latest research from Knight Frank, a staggering 65 percent of business entities with foreign presence are already looking to adjust the where and what of the workplace to take into account in the face of a changing operating environment and different expectations from current and future staff.

Knight Frank’s second edition of its (Y) OUR SPACE report further expects a new dynamic of global workplace to emerge in the long term – one that will be safe, sustainable and smart even though offices will remain essential to corporate culture.

“There is a mood of change in the air. 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. We are seeing a re-familiarization with the office beginning in many big cities around the world,” said Knight Frank’s William Beardmore-Gray, the Global Head of Occupier Services and Commercial Agency.

The survey released yesterday further says 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 – while over the three-year period 47 per cent of those firms will seek to improve the quality of the space they occupy, with 46 per cent looking to improve the amenities available to employees within the workplace.

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 companies came to a grinding halt as workers were quietly sent home when the pandemic hit early last year amid reduced work and falling revenues.

As a result a host of companies put their staff on reduced pay and either condensed or abandoned their office space to avoid further losses in a 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.

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