A study on office workplace modification during the COVID-19 pandemic in The Netherlands

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Abstract

Purpose
Triggered by public concerns over office workplace safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, this study sheds light on the office workplace environment and aims to investigate how organisations respond to forces from the external environment (impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic) and how they modify their office workplace management strategically and operationally to suit the stakeholders’ needs and future development in the post COVID-19 period.

Design/methodology/approach
A desktop study was conducted to provide the framework for the in-depth interviews with five corporate real estate (CRE) managers and three workplace consultants. Thematic analysis including coding technique was adopted to analyse the qualitative data.

Findings
The findings show that during the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the intended and implemented office workplace modifications are mainly related to two types of risk control: administrative control and personal protection. At a strategic level, organisations react to the external forces by re-modelling their businesses and working towards re-orienting their CRE strategies, such as portfolio transformation, agile portfolio strategies and redesign of the office workplace, etc.

Originality/value
This is a topical and timely study that presents the general practice of office workplace modification during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the related CRE management (CREM) strategies developed for the new normal. The findings obtained through in-depth interviews have well supported the CREM strategic alignment theory. It is foreseen that office workplace management will encounter other challenges due to uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings of this study provide a practical lens to look at the future changes of office workplace environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-202
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Corporate Real Estate
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Corporate business strategy
  • Office workplace modification
  • Risk control
  • Strategic alignment
  • The Netherlands

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