As Australians move back into the offices after many months of working from home, many have realised commercial real estate needs a shake-up.

According to commercial property expert, Steve Palise, technology needs to be enhanced in commercial real estate to ensure it survives the future.

“Offices will need to introduce direct digital engagement,” says Mr Palise.

“This will force office technology to adapt to the working from home culture, which has been imminent for years.”

Palise says that for offices to survive, they need to allow employees at home to collaborate and connect with those in the office as if they were there in person.

“In order to do this, companies will need to provide state of the art technology for employees to take home in addition to their fit out,” says the commercial property expert.

“If COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s that the work from home culture has been effective and its likely many employers will opt for this going forward.”

The office sector needs a total revamp in 2021 with the employee experience being at the forefront – think break out zones, outdoor spaces and wellness facilities.

“During the back end of 2020 there was an increased focus on employee mental and physical wellbeing and this will certainly be critical for 2021,” warns Palise.

“Office locations will need to be an enjoyable and offer a social experience to entice workers back,”

“Office culture, collaboration and cohesion is a must for commercial office space in 2021 if they seek to survive.”

Palise also suggests with high vacancy rates and an increased amount of choice, large office businesses will move away from the CBD to cheaper options.

From an industrial perspective, there is also some adapting to be done in order to survive 2021.

Palise suggests industrial properties familiarise themselves with robotic process automation.

“The rise of e-commerce has forced industrial properties to update their automations,” says Palise.

“Robotics, remote transaction technology, smart buildings, energy management systems and solar installations should be explored,” says Palise.

The Australian government has played an important role in Australia’s effective response to COVID-19.

“With a government push of economic recovery, there should a plethora of new infrastructure projects,” predicts Steve Palise.

“This will further increase the demand of the industrial sector combined with increasing e-commerce and distribution,”

“Supply chains will need to evolve to meet the changing demand of e-commerce.”

Mail to parcel ratios have reduced from 4:1 in 2015 to 2:1 in 2020. It is predicted that by 2025 this ratio will be 1:1 (source CBRE).

According to Palise, in low commercial vacancy rate regions, there will be a need for multi-story warehousing.