In Asia, the impact of the pandemic-induced shift in working patterns on the performance and outlook for the office sector has been relatively benign, according to the South China Morning Post. 

While the region’s economies have been hit hard by the Delta variant – whose effects have been exacerbated by growth-sapping  “zero-Covid” policies and low vaccination rates in many countries – the virus has caused less disruption to workplace strategies.

A report published by JLL this month noted that in July, when the Delta strain was spreading rapidly across the region, office re-entry rates were above 70 percent in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, and between 30 and 70 per cent in Seoul and Tokyo, where vaccination rates are lower than in the leading office markets in Europe and the US.

“One of the main reasons for this divergence – and a key theme in office occupier and investment markets since the virus struck – is the importance of the domestic tenant base,” according to the article. “Deeply ingrained beliefs about the role and function of the office – many Asian countries, notably Japan, have a strong culture of presenteeism and are quite traditional when it comes to workstyles – and smaller homes, which lack the privacy or level of connectivity needed to work remotely, make homeworking a tough sell for most Asian firms.”