Ten years from now, your workplace may be unrecognizable from your office today. Workplaces are evolving rapidly and employers have seen dramatic shifts in where, when and how employees work or want to work. The workplace is becoming more digital, and yet there is a need for more of a human experience. The one-size-fits-all model is no longer relevant as the workplace evolves to become more mobile, flexible and personalized.
One reason for rapid workplace evolution: employees today expect more from their workplace than ever before. Offering thoughtfully designed facilities and offices is a great way to attract and retain top talent while fostering employee well-being, engagement and productivity.
Companies should ignore these trends at their peril, because those that adapt are most likely to win the war for talent and thrive into the future. Here are five trends transforming the future of work.
Smart buildings, operating with computer-controlled systems, provide a number of physical and psychological benefits for employees. Today’s smart building technologies can empower digitally savvy employees to manage the temperature, lighting and even the background music in their workspace. Smart buildings also provide better indoor air quality and environmental controls that not only improve a company’s environmental sustainability contributions, but also boost employee health, wellness and productivity. Some smart building facility managers even provide employees with mobile apps that provide a direct, “frictionless” way for employees to enhance their workplace experience.
Image credit: JLL, via Office ReNew
Innovative office designers are taking cues from the retail world, creating technology-enabled, collaborative and high-quality experiential workplaces. In response to the growing “liquid workforce” of on-demand workers, and to accommodate mobile working, some companies are also providing networks of workspace. These include corporate coworking spaces, airport lounges and coffee shops ensuring that workers have secure, reliable access to corporate data and resources wherever they are. Strategies to support this workforce are evolving every day and already, some companies are adopting telepresence robots and virtual reality technologies to enable collaboration among geographically dispersed workers. To further enhance productivity and employee satisfaction, concierge services are emerging in some workplaces.
Progressive companies have realized that their employees are seeking hyper-personalized employee services and work environments. Digital building operations are making it possible to individualize the workplace experience more than ever by enabling employees to control their workspace environment. Though it sounds counter-intuitive, the one-size-fits-all workplace is falling by the wayside as data demonstrates that different workers have different preferences. Today’s advanced building technologies make it easier for companies to offer workplaces that support their unique corporate culture. Increasingly, companies are offering upgraded spaces such as club rooms, huddle rooms, meeting rooms of varying sizes, lounges and, yes, even traditional individual desks—creating flexibility and choice for employees.
A digital revolution is transforming corporate real estate globally. Traditional service providers are becoming technology companies, focused on expediting workplace services and smart portfolio strategies as the lines are blurred between corporate real estate services, HR and IT. Integrated corporate real estate management systems can create a robust data set that informs location strategies and more accurate occupancy planning. Employees benefit, too, as companies use data-driven decision-making—rather than guesswork—to enhance the worker experience, productivity and boost talent recruitment and retention.
Innovation is no longer optional, and today’s companies must use every tool they have to support their professionals in sourcing, testing and bringing new ideas to market. In fact, employees at the most innovative companies benefit from better-designed and more functional workspaces, with adjustable features and more variety, noise management and access to outdoor spaces, according to Gensler and JLL research. The innovation mandate also means investing in people, processes and tools to drive innovation forward, with recognition and rewards that celebrate the best new ideas.
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