Sunday, May 31, 2020

Bangkok office scene will change forever in post-Covid era

Apr 07. 2020
Roongrat Veeraparkkaroon
Roongrat Veeraparkkaroon
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By THE NATION

The ongoing pandemic is a once-in-a-century event that will split our historical timeline into pre- and post-Covid-19 eras. Nowhere is this more true than in the Bangkok office market, where behaviour and use of space will radically change within a period of less than a year.

“For many years now, companies have been exploring remote work or work-from-home strategies to either minimise costs or cope with the changes of millennial behaviour during the Pre-Covid-19 period. At this time, almost every company … is being forced to undertake this new way of working without a choice,” said Roongrat Veeraparkkaroon, head of office advisory and transaction services at CBRE Thailand.

Companies are now experimenting with work-from-home policy and realising that it can work for certain business functions. This means that the post-Covid workplace will likely be more agile, combining a permanent office as well as work-from-home, and a co-working space.

The outbreak is acting as a catalyst, giving companies a clear view of whether new working policies they had already been considering actually work. Businesses are also in the process of identifying which platforms or infrastructure they are missing to support remote work, meaning tech services companies will be among the first beneficiaries after the storm has passed.

“Many organisations will be looking for satellite offices and cloud-based platforms as a business continuity plan [BCP] to ensure their businesses will not go dark if their headquarters can’t be accessed. Co-working space will be one of the best choices in this case as the company can rent space on demand only when needed. However, in the post-Covid-19 world, co-working space operators will need solid measures to satisfy users that their spaces are safe and well-prepared,” Roongrat said.

Showing workplace agility during the pandemic, some Bangkok-based organisations have been renting meeting or conference rooms in hotels for weeks, as their backup meeting spaces.

“Agile workplaces, where collaboration and engagement are encouraged, was already a hot topic in the pre-Covid-19 world,” added Roongrat. “Initially, the agile workplace might sound like a high-risk option for companies at this time; however, as the name suggests, the agile workplace or ‘activity-based work areas’ can be easily reconfigured to support social distancing strategies and split teams within offices. Paperless offices make this transition even more seamless.”

In the bigger picture, many office developments in Bangkok will be delayed as construction activities are halted or postponed amid the outbreak. It is also possible that development plans will be revised to make projects more appealing in the post-Covid-19 era ¬¬– with better property management systems, air filtration for the PM2.5 still lingering over Bangkok, or a well-thought-out BCP to support the tenants.

Agile and adaptive will be key words in the post-Covid office market, not only to increase efficiency of workplaces but also to prepare businesses for any unforeseen events and changes that could occur in the future.

 

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