CBRE: Workplace wellbeing top priority for companies

Companies are increasingly prioritising employee needs when making business and real estate decisions, according to the latest annual European Occupier Survey by global real estate advisor, CBRE.

The survey, now in its fifth year, polls real estate decision makers at global corporations collectively occupying approximately 200 million sq m worldwide to understand their objectives and associated challenges across a broad range of issues. The respondents represent companies headquartered primarily in Western Europe or North America spanning multiple sectors, of which the largest are: banking and finance, professional services, and technology and telecommunications.

The importance of an effective workplace strategy that prioritises staff needs has risen up the agenda. This is a shift from the start of the economic downturn when cost was the core strategy driver, which created a potential disconnect between companies and their employees. Today, companies acknowledge these factors cannot be managed in isolation as evidenced by a third of respondents (33%) citing labour and skill shortages as a key business challenge, up from 21% last year. In addition, the workforce featured heavily as an explanation for companies’ location decision-making. For example, approximately half of the respondents (46%) cited talent availability as a key factor behind location decisions, while 30% highlighted the cost of labour as a key driver. Both responses were 10% higher than the corresponding figures last year.

As a result, interest in adopting workplace strategies continues to gain momentum. Of those surveyed, two thirds (67%) reported that their workplace strategy was primarily driven by the need to attract and retain talent. This represents a 20% increase from last year (48%) and dislodges cost savings from the top spot (56% in 2013 to 43% today) into third place as the principal aim of such a programme. The second most popular reason to implement a workplace strategy was the desire to increase employee productivity (46%), up from 37% last year.

In addition, amenity rich locations that provide quality space and transport accessibility are increasingly sought by companies with 65% stating these factors are vital for building selection and to attract the younger generation. This demonstrates the increasing importance placed on workforce satisfaction and its impact on decision-making.

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About CBRE

CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBRE), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2019 revenue). The company has more than 100,000 employees (excluding affiliates) and serves real estate investors and occupiers through more than 530 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers a broad range of integrated services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services. Please visit our website at