In two years office occupier priorities have shifted from business expansion to staff attraction and retention, according to a survey by Colliers International.
Colliers' 2012 Office Tenant Survey found office tenants continue to make property moves despite unstable global economic conditions.
Sustainable design, activity based working are also high priorities for most businesses.
The survey polled 300 decision makers for office leasing of 500 sqm or more in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, Auckland and Wellington.
The respondents represented a total of 1.636 million sqm of office space in Australia and New Zealand. The survey was last conducted in 2010.
“This 2012 survey reflects the change in perceptions we are witnessing daily – workers don’t feel the need to familiarise themselves with every detail of things like legislation and ratings systems, but they do want to be able to say they work in a ‘green building’," says Simon Hunt, Colliers managing director of office leasing.
“They are also becoming increasingly curious about the pros and cons of alternative workplace structures, such as activity-based working, that could offer them a more lifestyle-friendly set-up in their work lives.”
Hunt says while 65 percent of respondents indicated global economic factors affected their businesses, the impact on leasing plans was mild:
30 percent said cost saving was a primary focus
20 percent said they would consolidate their space requirements
16 percent had put expansion plans on hold
Colliers director of occupier research, Felice Spark, says: “The majority of leasing decisions are being made locally with no impact from overseas head offices."
“Tenants in Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney all expect to hire more staff in the next 12-24 months, indicating opportunities for growth and more efficient space planning."
“The leading markets are Perth and Brisbane, where office vacancy is expected to fall the most and rents to rise.”
Hunt says tenants were increasingly focused on creating an efficient mix of areas within their workplaces, such as private areas, meeting rooms and study rooms.
“Larger organisations and those with longer lease terms were found to be more likely to be considering activity-based working for their workplaces,” he says.
“ICT was the industry most likely to have implemented or be planning to implement activity-based working, while the legal sector was, perhaps not surprisingly, the least likely to be considering it.”
Brisbane tenants were the most likely to indicate they would like to adopt activity-based working (38 percent) whilst Perth tenants were the least likely to be considering it (12 percent), followed by Melbourne tenants (24 percent).