The question now is whether companies will collectively deposit those extra square meters in the near future. Peak occupancy will be critical for this. “We now see that Tuesday and Thursday are the peak days, when most employees go to the office,” says Madeline Puigs, a researcher at Colliers. “But if you leave that in place, you really won’t be able to use your space more efficiently. Companies are now looking at how to spread out office visits over the entire week, so that they need less space.
Colliers has spoken to fifty organizations as they try, for example, to “spread out” employees throughout the week using a booking app or team roster. The real estate consultant believes that a more equal job will reduce the space required for each employee from an average of nineteen square meters to sixteen.
More official vacancies?
If companies actually rent fewer square metres, the office vacancy rate may rise. But according to Colliers, it won’t happen so quickly. “Companies often have long-term leases, so they can’t get rid of these counters so quickly,” Puigs says. “But we expect that they will eventually take a critical look at how much the rent is and what they really need. And then it could also lead to a real job vacancy.”
The sharply increasing vacancy rate also depends on the development of the economy in the coming years. There are now over 100,000 office jobs. “Companies ensure that they don’t get rid of all the square meters they don’t need at the moment. Because if they want to grow, they must also have room to accommodate new employees,” Buijs says.
According to the real estate consultant, there is still room for new, sustainable offices in the popular locations. But there will be little demand for the old business park along the highway. According to Buijs, the increase in office vacancies also provides opportunities to convert into housing. “Offices in themselves are well suited for transformation, and this can often be done relatively easily. And they don’t just have to be homes, they can also serve food or something else.”
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