Report | Creating Resilience, Evolving Workforces

Korea Major Report - 2021 Korea Future of Office Survey

09 Sep 2021

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Executive Summary


While pandemic-related disruption to office occupiers in Korea has been diminishing, the outlook remains uncertain. Nevertheless, long-term real estate strategic planning has resumed, informed by greater flexibility and the adoption of new working models.

These insights were obtained from CBRE’s latest occupier sentiment survey conducted in May 2021 both in Asia Pacific including Korea, and globally. As companies gradually return to expansionary mode, this report based on the survey findings highlights five key occupier trends.

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1. OCCUPIERS BELIEVE THAT AN ECONOMIC RECOVERY IS UNDERWAY


About 71% of respondents in Asia Pacific believe business conditions are improving, marking progress from the two surveys CBRE conducted in October and April 2020.

While two thirds of respondents from Korea expressed an optimistic outlook, most believe that the economy is at the early stages of a recovery, with a sustained rebound expected to take more time.

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2. MORE COMPANIES ARE ADOPTING HYBRID WORKING


Senior business leaders have a strong desire to bring employees back to the office but at the same time are willing to offer a greater degree of flexibility and choice. Almost 47% of respondents plan to implement policies allowing office-based working with the option of working from home.

This proportion is higher in Korea, with 58% stating that they will encourage employees to work in the office while allowing them to work from home if they wish.

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3. OCCUPIER APPETITE FOR EXPANSION IS STRENGTHENING


More occupiers now expect the size of their office portfolios to increase in the long term. About 50% of respondents intend to increase the size of their real estate portfolios over the next three years, a substantial increase on the 23% who replied the same in October 2020.In Korea, 54% of respondents expressed expectations for an increase in portfolio size.

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4. OFFICES SEEN AS DRIVING ENGAGEMENT, INNOVATION AND COLLABORATION


Office occupiers in Asia Pacific retain a strong belief that compared to remote working, the office is more effective in supporting collaboration, team productivity, employee engagement, innovation and employee learning and development. However, they also believe that remote working offers advantages in terms of individual productivity and employees’ health and well being. With a few exceptions, Korea based firms’ responses were largely in line with the regional average.

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5. WORKPLACE STRATEGY DIVERGES BETWEEN ASIAN AND WESTERN COMPANIES


As most Asian companies do not intend to adopt hybrid working, nearly half of respondents from this group prefer to assign dedicated seats for their staff. Demand for flexible seating is much higher in Korea compared to the regional average, indicating that more companies plan to reconfigure their offices in the short term. Local conglomerates including Samsung, Hyundai, Lotte, and SK have expanded their provision of flexible seating, flexible hours, and offices serving hub and spoke models. A few Korean financial firms have also implemented flexible seating to improve efficiency.

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