Agents warn the Clayton deal, which could see Telstra employees move from trendy suburbs such as Hawthorn and South Yarra, also risks having negative effects on staff morale and in turn staff retention rates.
The telecommunications giant, which recently reported a $3.3 billion annual operating profit, announced in May it would vacate around 50,000 square metres of suburban office space, and relocate to a 40,000 square metre office building in Blackburn Road. The deal would reap the company an estimated $2 million per year in lease savings.
Telstra, one of the biggest tenants in the suburban office market, is widely tipped to vacate the Como Centre in Toorak Road South Yarra, two office buildings in Hawthorn and B-grade buildings in Glen Iris, Burwood, Box Hill and Glen Waverley.
One leasing agent who wished to remain anonymous, told The Age that filling the Burwood and Glen Waverley space could take years, because tenant enquiry is slower than in the more central areas.
“What Telstra needs to be careful of now is staff retention strategies,” said the source. “They’re moving employees to the outer south-eastern suburbs, which are not well serviced by public transport and retail amenity, and asking them to work in an area of 10 square metres.
“This is less than what most staff get to work with in the city.”
Other agents however were not so scathing.
“The thing is really about work-life balance,” said DTZ leasing director Michael Spence. “Location to a degree can be less of an issue if a company has its head around managing the issues.”
“PriceWaterhouseCoopers used to have a shuttle bus for its staff, and the new NAB building at Docklands is like a little city inside, with everything workers need.”
A Telstra spokeswoman said it is too early to tell exactly which existing properties will be vacated.