By Cynthia Kantor
From the December 2022 Issue
The workplace as we knew it—and how we expected it to look in the future—materially changed with the impacts of COVID-19. Hybrid work became the unwritten rule and employers learned the value of empathy. Now these sea changes are prompting a transformative realization: The world needs a more human approach to work, not just as a temporary salve, but as a long-term commitment.
Corporate real estate (CRE) leaders around the world agree the workplace is primed for change. Insights from JLL’s latest survey of over 1,000 CRE decision-makers across the globe on “The Future of Work” show that the next three years will be critical for organizations to redefine the work ecosystem and create more human, tech-enabled real estate portfolios.
Right now, more than three-quarters (77%) of respondents agree or strongly agree that hybrid work will be crucial to recruitment and retention and just over half (53%) are already planning to make remote work a permanent option by 2025.
Meanwhile the central workplace is becoming a more strategic tool for roughly three-quarters (72%) of respondents who say the office will remain central to the work ecosystem. Their organizations are actively shaping space to inspire employees to spend more time in the office—driving collaboration, engagement, and productivity.
So, how can your organization take the reins in defining the future of work? Start by putting employees first.
Shaping A Human-Centric Workplace
The workplace of tomorrow is in the hands of today’s facility leaders. The following are key considerations as FMs plot out a work ecosystem for their organizations that put employees first:
1) Operationalize hybrid while investing in high-quality space. Hybrid work is here to stay— which means a bustling anchor workplace is too. More than three-quarters of respondents say that investing in quality office space is a higher priority than increasing footprint. And many companies are putting collaborative working at the top of the wish list, with 73% of workplace leaders skipping traditional dedicated desk space in favor of open, flexible design that promotes collaboration as well as quiet focus spaces for independent work.
By investing in quality workspaces, leaders encourage in-person attendance, spark casual idea-sharing and foster productivity. Designing spaces that center around the human experience provide employees with an environment that supports workflow and the needs and desires of each individual. It is imperative to have flexible and dynamic workspaces which can ebb and flow with the type of work that needs to be accomplished.
2.) Plan for positive impact. According to 75% of CRE executives, employees don’t just want their employers to have a strong environmental, social, and governance (ESG) plan—they will increasingly expect it.
Real estate is proving a frontline way to deliver on those ideals, with more than half of the respondents (56%) noting their business will have paid a premium by 2025 to take up space with leading sustainability and green credentials. They’re also prioritizing carbon-efficient buildings, considering net zero goals in location decisions and bringing circular design principles to fit-outs and refurbishments.