“Tenants are happy to come in and commit to 2000 square metres of A-grade space, but for B and C grade quality there is definitely minimal commitment – they will leave,” he said.
A recent RMIT study found that Melbourne’s CBD workers were spending fewer than 17 hours a week in the city, and only one in eight went to the office every day of the working week.
Chas Keogh, from commercial real estate firm Cushman and Wakefield, said his tenant clients were looking at options to “downsize but upgrade” but the speed at which that was happening differed depending on the size of the company.
He said small companies of 20 to 30 staff were able to move much more easily than larger companies because they often had more flexibility in their contracts. Those stuck in more rigid contracts were taking a hit on their bottom line, he said.
“If you need to have the lights on for 3000 square metres but you have only 30 per cent office occupancy then that has an impact,” Keogh said.
One large employer – consultancy firm Arup at 699 Collins Street – has seen more staff in the office in the past week since the work-from-home advice changed.
Kriston Symons, principal of markets and clients at Arup, said the 450-desk capacity building was now about 70 per cent full.
“It’s been climbing about 5 per cent a week for a while,” he said.
Symons said he chalked up his office’s higher-than-average occupancy to a number of factors including spring weather…