Purpose of offices much more than collaboration: CBRE IM

Although the need to collaborate with colleagues is widely argued as one of the key reasons why offices are needed and why workers are returning to them, CBRE Investment Management’s head of offices EMEA John Mulqueen believes there are other, stronger arguments.

“I think offices actually offer much more than that or at least should offer much more than that,” he told Real Asset Insight during EXPO Real recently.

“It wouldn’t be right to think that people come into the office merely to spend all their day speaking to others. I think we really need to provide the kind of environment where they can go and do focused work and all the other things that you would want to do in a typical day, and that’s a much more healthy way to look at working patterns.”

He also said that a partnership needs to be forged between building owners and building occupiers. “Realistically what you’re looking at is some very common sense things that can be done to enhance ESG, practical things like altering the temperature in the building by one degree, turning the lights off when they’re not used, finding areas of the building that don’t need to be running at full capacity.”

There is a bigger impetus for investing capital into buildings to enhance the mechanical and electrical engineering. However, the costs of such capital expenditure tend to fall on the investor while the benefits all accrue to the occupier.

“There needs to be a really grown-up conversation about how we can value the payback and how an occupier might contribute to those costs,” Mulqueen said.