The office market is a good indicator to assess the recovery of activity in France. With the covid-19 pandemic, many companies have abandoned their offices. Spaces more necessarily adapted to health measures, the needs of employees, or simply less used with the implementation of teleworking. The pandemic has therefore had a significant impact on the office market, and Cushman & Wakefield today draws its first observations on the situation in the first half of 2021. How has transactional activity evolved? Is the face of tomorrow’s offices different from the one they had before the pandemic?
The office market resumes its growth
After several months of working from home, the famous “teleworking” forced for companies that could apply it… It’s time to go back to the offices. While some groups had retained their offices throughout the crisis, others had returned them because of a lack of sufficient revenue to absorb fixed costs. Today, the lifting of the various restrictions allows a return to the offices more permanent, which also leads to a fundamental change in the needs of companies.
Cushman & Wakefield thus draws up a rather optimistic initial balance sheet for the office market in France. A market globally boosted by the tertiary sector. The requests are such that for the second half of 2021, the requests could tend towards an increase in the average areas. However, the dominant trend that is reflected in the mapping is the demands of large accounts. Their request is mainly focused on île-de-France and the Lyon region.
Another trend observed: the desire to find a more central position, particularly in metropolitan France. Being well located in the heart of cities makes it easier for employees to travel. A way to limit travel by personal car, more polluting … This most often happens when offices are located in low- or underserved areas. This trend is particularly noticeable outside the Ile-de-France region, with more attractive prices than in the heart of the capital.
This dynamic of the office market therefore arrives as good news, marking the end of an unprecedented and delicate period for companies. Although some companies still maintain a hybrid rhythm, having offices to meet or receive customers remains an asset. The offers remain very contrasting. This depends on several factors, to which users are increasingly sensitive.
A focus on new trends in France
With the pandemic, companies have revised their desires regarding their ideal offices. And the least that can be said is that the office is evolving. Today, business leaders rely on different selection criteria than those that animated them before the crisis. Four major trends stand out today in the office market, four trends that reflect the expectations of companies for their future.
First of all, the reading of the request is different. In the regions, these findings are obvious. SMEs and large groups living together in metropolitan areas do not turn to the same premises or the same areas. But the common finding of these two profiles is the significant decrease in renegotiations between the lessor and the user.
Also, one of the factors that characterizes the new expectations of companies is real estate flexibility. In the face of changes in the organisation of work, in particular working time itself, needs are changing. Companies are also looking for greater financial flexibility, with in particular support from the lessor… And greater flexibility on the part of investors to provide a concrete response to users.
Finally, the office market also faces another major problem: health standards. Companies are more selective with regard to their choice of offices to respect the well-being of their employees. Flexible spaces, to adapt as well to work in open spaces for collaborative work… Only for closed offices, more in line with the sanitary measures still in force in France.
By respecting these criteria, which have become essential for companies, landlords also wish to see the quality of their premises recognized. For this, they want the offices to be embellished with a label or certification according to the choices made by the users, while taking into account the working conditions of the employees.
The sign of recovery is there. The office market is already showing promise, despite the changes, the volume of transactions is there.
Cushman & Wakefield publishes the weather report of office markets in France in the1st half of 2021. Press release published on July 5, 2021
France Regions Snapshot Bureaux Bordeaux – 1st 2021 CBRE