A significant number of the world’s largest corporate employers are planning to cut their office space within the next few years, according to a survey from the UK-based real estate consultancy firm Knight Frank. In the company’s recent poll of 350 leaders at global firms with more than 50,000 employees, half said they expect to shrink their office footprint across their properties. Of those who plan to reduce their space, most are looking at sizing down between 10 percent and 20 percent. But for smaller companies, those with less than 10,000 employees, it’s a much different picture. Fifty-five percent of leaders of those firms said they plan to grow their office footprint. “Now that we are in a truly post-pandemic world, corporate decision-makers are ‘removing the blinkers’ and making clear decisions around their future corporate real estate strategy based on a broader array of business issues than just the pandemic,” Knight Frank’s Lee Elliot told Bloomberg.
The findings of Knight Frank’s poll are not entirely surprising, given the ongoing impacts of remote work on the office sector, but it’s certainly more bad news for owners of office space. One city that knows this all too well is Austin, where sublease space has shot up in recent months as companies including TikTok, Meta, and 3M put office space on the market. The revelation also comes at a time when a lot of the largest employers in the U.S. are emphasizing the importance of the physical office and calling employees back to the workplace more days of the week. Meta was one of the latest companies to require more in-person work, issuing a new mandate last month asking workers to come to the office three days a week. While it seems the physical office isn’t going anywhere for most companies, overall office strategies continue to evolve, and at least in the near future, it may mean less space.