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Evaluating the effect of new working practices on office space usage in Hong Kong

Wadu Mesthrige Jayantha (School of Property Construction and Project Management, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia)
Olugbenga Timo Oladinrin (School of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK)

Journal of Corporate Real Estate

ISSN: 1463-001X

Article publication date: 25 October 2019

Issue publication date: 15 November 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Many organizations in Hong Kong have witnessed a reduction in average space usage due to high occupancy costs. New working practices (NWPs) are viewed as a reform tool to manage expensive real estate around the world. However, it is unclear whether NWPs influence office space usage in business organizations in Hong Kong. This study, therefore, aims to evaluate if the average space reduction in office firms is caused by the NWPs in the finance, insurance, real estate and business (FIREB) firms.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 20 NWPs were initially derived from the extant literature. A questionnaire survey was conducted with listed FIREB firms in Hong Kong to assess the impact of the identified NWPs on space usage. The data collected from the questionnaire survey were analysed using descriptive, explorative factor analysis (EFA) and partial least squares-structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM) to evaluate the effects of NWPs on average space usage.

Findings

Results revealed that four major NWP factors influence average space usage. Three of these factors, namely, “flexible arrangement”, “multitasking knowledge workers” and “teamwork and communication”, influence space usage positively. Even though the effect of the fourth factor “training and networking” was significant, it does not reflect a positive influence on space usage. Business organizations can focus more on the implementation of NWPs to cushion the effects of the high cost of occupancy.

Originality/value

The research provides new knowledge to the limited literature on the effect of NWPs in FIREB firms and enriches the growing body of international literature on how today’s competitive global business organizations should revisit their workplace strategies to accommodate the rising agile workforce and NWPs. The findings offer new insights into the ongoing debate on the impact of information and communication technology-enabled NWPs on space usage. From the real estate perspective, the findings should inform policymaking towards the better planning ahead of office properties to accommodate NWPs, helping Hong Kong to remain competitive as a key financial centre.

Keywords

Citation

Jayantha, W.M. and Oladinrin, O.T. (2019), "Evaluating the effect of new working practices on office space usage in Hong Kong", Journal of Corporate Real Estate, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 346-366. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCRE-06-2019-0030

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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