Lots of hidden vacancy in Dutch offices due to work-from-home
Many office workers will continue to work partly from home, even now that coronavirus measures have largely been abolished. And as a result, there is a lot of hidden vacancy in office space in the Netherlands - space that has been rented out but is not used. This applies to about 3.3 million square meters or almost 6 percent of all office space in the Netherlands, according to real estate advisor Colliers.
Officially, 4.3 million square meters, or 7.4 percent, of office space in the Netherlands is vacant. This hidden vacancy comes on top of that, bringing the total vacancy to 7.6 million square meters, or 13.3 percent.
If hybrid working stays the norm, businesses may start looking into getting rid of redundant office space. But that will depend on whether companies can spread the days on which their employees come in over the entire week. For example, if all employees come in on Tuesdays and Thursdays, all the space is still needed.
Colliers spoke to 50 organizations, with a total of 30,000 full-time employees, who are currently trying to figure this out. They're looking at things like a reservation app in which employees can book office space if they want to come in. Others are trying to figure it out with rosters.
But the new way of working won't immediately lead to more actual vacancies, the real estate advisor said. "Not all leas contracts are expiring immediately, and not every company will manage to find another office that meets their wishes," said Harold Coenders, a housing expert at Colliers. "Moreover, the number of office jobs in the Netherlands is increasing. Companies are looking for staff en masse, and those new colleagues also need a workplace."