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It's no lie that the work-from-home movement has taken over the world, exacerbated by COVID when everyone was locked down and doing their best to balance life, taking work calls in pajama bottoms while stuck in their homes.
Compared to Western countries where working from home has become the norm, many Asian companies, even during the pandemic, weren’t quick to adopt this trend, with many companies pushing back. In 2022, for example, CBRE research showed that more employees in the Asia-Pacific region were returning to the office than in other places.
Despite the slower adoption in some Asian regions, Hong Kong has experienced a gradual transition towards flexible and hybrid work, with flexible office space providers keen on expansion in the city to cater to the demand. "Businesses are increasingly moving away from long-term, fixed leases and instead opting for shorter-term agreements and coworking space," said Paul MacAndrew, the market manager for IWG in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area.
Now with the precedent set, a recent Bloomberg Intelligence survey of 350 workers in Hong Kong revealed that 27% would need a salary increase of 6% or more to give up hybrid work if their employers mandate a return to the office five days a week.
But that's not all – 24% are ready to jump ship for jobs offering flexible work setups. The survey hints that as more companies go hybrid, there could be less demand for office space, potentially causing a 6% dip in office rents by 2024. Keep in mind, the city already has a whopping 16.4% vacancy rate in office spaces. It seems the shift toward hybrid work and lack of interest from mainland companies are teaming up to, once again, shake up Hong Kong's office rental scene.