Actually, most of us miss the office – but we’ll cop the free coffee anyway

The “new normal” for Brisbane’s central business district in a post-COVID world will feature fewer individual work stations and more collaborative spaces if companies are to succeed in attracting staff back to the office.

May 20, 2021, updated May 20, 2021

A survey of more than 7500 office workers across Australia found that 80 per cent of people missed the office and 77 per cent wanted to return to their desks in the city as their primary workplace once the pandemic had passed.

However, it also found that three in four staff wanted to work from home least one day a week, with about one in four wanting to work from home more than two days a week.

The survey comes as the Brisbane City Council and the Property Council of Australia launch a campaign to attract workers back into the Brisbane CBD.

The campaign, dubbed Fridays in the City, will offer workers shopping vouches and discounts, free coffees and exercise classes to entice them back into the CBD on the last day of the working week.

The campaign kicks off on Friday and will run until June 25.

The Property Council’s deputy executive director Jen Williams said even with companies expecting a “new normal” of occupancy in the CBD, the city centre still needed more activity than it is experiencing now.

She said occupancy levels had stagnated at 60 per cent, with little movement in returning to offices over the five months to April.

“Activity levels in Brisbane’s office buildings not only affect workplaces and office landlords, but the thousands of small businesses and retailers that rely on high levels of foot traffic to turn a profit,” she said.

Dexus principal Chris Alcock said the survey results showed companies will need to move to operating with a combination of central core office space, a variety of flexible office options and set themselves up to accommodate “virtual working”.

“The blended office has the potential to deliver improved talent attraction and retention by offering increased flexibility, reduced commuting time, the ability to attract, retain and support talent regardless of geographic location and wellbeing benefits,” he said.


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