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Home office could lead to 10 percent less office space

Though they are hardly on their last legs, demand for office space will drop. © Keystone / Christian Beutler

Despite the easing of Covid-19 measures, remote working is still widespread in Switzerland, with almost a third of service sector employees still working from home.

According to a survey published on Thursday by the Credit Suisse bank and the Procure.ch purchasing managers association, 29% of service employees and 16% of industry employees in Switzerland are still working from home.

This has not changed substantially compared to the situation in July, though numbers have come down since the peak of the pandemic, when over half of service employees and around a third of industry workers were in home office.

What does this mean for the future of the traditional office? The Neue Zürcher Zeitung paper also reported on Thursday on a separate study by the JLL real estate group, who said at least half of the 318 businesses it surveyed said they would continue rolling out home office measures.

Asked which changes they would retain from the lockdown, 56% of firms said they would “expand” the home office option.

JLL said this will have a clear impact on the office real estate market, especially since 46% of firms also plan to reduce the space needed for each employee by introducing a system of hot-desking when workers are on site.

Such shifts could lead to a 5-10% reduction in office floor space over the next three years, the report estimates.

Earlier this year, in July, another outlook report by the Fahrländer research group showed that office rent prices fell by 3.3% in the second quarter of the year, during the height of the Covid-19 crisis.

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