The office market will need to adapt to changes in how we work, writes CHRIS RAE. A free seminar next week will explore and debate the role of ESG in a post-Covid environment
CMS is hosting a free to attend event next week focusing on the issue of Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) and its impact within the commercial property market.
The hour-long online session at 12 noon on Wednesday 11 November will feature some of the leading names from the Scottish and UK real estate sector.
They include Neville Brown, real estate manager, Phoenix Group; Michael McDowall, property director, HFD Property Group; Georgie Nelson, ESG manager (real estate), Aberdeen Standard Investments; and Cheryl Gurnham, a real estate partner at CMS.
With real estate being the biggest consumer of energy, the industry has seen a considerable shift in companies’ policies and strategies, and investors’ decision-making priorities.
Our panel of specialists will explore and debate the role of ESG in a post-Covid environment and its different interpretations covering key themes identified in CMS’s recently issued Real Estate Reset report.
The report, which included an in-depth survey involving more than 200 middle, senior and c-suite executives based in Scotland, unveiled some highly relevant and current insights about the future of offices beyond the global pandemic.
It highlighted the uncertainty over when respondents thought they might be able to return to their offices, although 15% of them thought it was unlikely to happen until sometime in 2021. Current questions about a potential national lockdown or further regional restrictions going into place across Scotland may see that figure now rising to a higher level.
Looking to the post-pandemic future, it also showed that 24% of commercial property occupants in Scotland expect to downsize their office requirements due to Covid-19. Nearly a quarter of respondents said they would downsize commercial property requirements and 18% claimed they expected to split offices into different locations.
As many offices remain closed throughout Scotland, 46% of respondents said they are planning to work from home more often and 29% say they’ll do less international travel in future. Only 24% expect no change to how they will work post-Covid.
‘Office buildings, in particular, are changing to suit the needs of the end-user’
While these findings suggest we can expect a significant shake-up in the way we work and how companies utilise their office space, 52% of those surveyed were anticipating no change to their requirements going forward.
Significantly for commercial property landlords and investors, the Reset Report highlighted a strong commitment towards sustainability. Over half of respondents (56%) say they’d take a pay cut – 22% say they’d incur a substantial cut – to work in an environmentally sustainable building.
Our 11 November event will examine how these and other survey findings will impact on ESG within commercial property affecting the way we live and work.
With the future of workplaces under careful scrutiny, we will look at the ways in which office buildings, in particular, are changing to suit the needs of the end-user to deliver a more positive social impact in physical and mental wellbeing.
For more details on how to attend our free webinar, please click here
A full copy of the report Real Estate Reset: offices and purpose beyond the pandemic is available here
Chris Rae is a Glasgow-based partner and Real Estate specialist at CMS
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