The global evolutionary development of technology products is driving the demand for office spaces in the Philippines, particularly in business process outsourcing (BPO), according to a real estate consultancy firm.
In a recent market note, Colliers International noted technology firms have been growing at substantial rates in the past 20 years, a development that is reflected in the expansion of office space uptake – particularly in the United States.
“These firms are now considered the drivers of office leasing in the US, being the primary source of actual office take-ups and influencing workspace strategies across industries,” Colliers said.
Some of these companies include Amazon, which now occupies 11 million square feet in Seattle and Facebook which expanded by 275,000 square feet.
From the Philippine perspective, Colliers noted it was not the tech firms that are actually driving the absorption of office space, but the business process outsourcing (BPO) firms that are servicing the needs of the tech firms abroad.
“The continuous development of tech products by these companies inevitably means additional customer service teams off-shore,” Colliers noted.
A few tech companies have taken up some office space in the Philippines, like Google which occupied 18,000 square meters and Uber with 5,500 square meters.
“And given that these companies have established themselves locally, it will not be surprising to see more of the tech firms expand into the country,” Colliers said.
Tech firms are also changing the office space landscape through the “workplace of choice” strategy.
“Choices range from having a place of privacy to a space for collaboration to breakout rooms, allowing for more interaction, mirroring the abundant amenities and employee-friendly campus type offices of the biggest tech companies such as Google and Facebook,” Colliers noted.
The demand has spilled over into serviced office spaces.
“Serviced office companies such as WeWork and Regus, which embraced the dynamic, flexible and collaborative thrust of tech and creative firms were named among those with the most new leasing activity racking up over 3 million and 2 million square feet, respectively, since 2014 in the US,” Colliers said.
In the Philippines, Regus has expanded to 25 locations – with over 30,000 square meters across the country.
Colliers noted the serviced office space strategy is not exclusive to tech firms, and has also been adopted by various industries.
“Occupiers of Regus cover a myriad of firms across industries, including IT firms, BPOs, HR firms, law firms, start-ups, and even Fortune 500 companies,” Colliers said.