Staying on top of change: Five ways to future proof the workplace

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Change is coming to workplace as advancing technology and data driven insights fuel new ways of working. Here are five ways to future proof your workplace.

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Staying on top of change: Five ways to future proof the workplace
Change is coming to the workplace as advancing technology and data driven insights fuel new ways of working. Both companies and their real estate will have to adapt. In fact, a workplace designed on today’s needs and assumptions could be redundant in little more than a decade, according to JLL’s Workspace, Reworked report.

So how can firms take steps today to put them in a better position tomorrow?

Put data in the driving seat
Investment in smart building technology increased 500% from $200 million in 2005 to over $1 billion in 2014. In the coming years, sensors and smart systems will increasingly enter the workplace, improving the operational efficiency of buildings, and generating huge volumes of data on workplaces and the people who use them. This data will lead the design of physical space, empowering occupiers to align their spaces with their business objectives.

Embed technology into workplace strategy
By 2020 emerging technologies like virtual reality will begin to enter some of the more leading edge workspaces, while the number of devices connected to the internet is predicted to surge to 20 billion. Over the coming decade advances in robotics, computing power and artificial intelligence will transform how people work. By 2019, PwC predicts 25% of tasks across every job category will be automated. Successful business leaders must be able to think beyond and have the vision to make bold decisions on how these forces will reshape their business and real estate.

Create a great workplace experience
Employee experience will become an increasingly crucial factor in workplace design, creating workplaces where people want to collaborate and engage. Offices with generous food and beverage provisions, kitted out with gyms, games and recreation spaces will be more common as firms compete for top talent. Giving employees choice and flexibility over where they work will also become a top priority.

Think lean, be flexible
Many jobs will fall to artificial intelligence and more companies will draw on the gig-economy and freelancers for skilled temporary work. Companies of the future will be leaner and more dispersed while permanent employees will be focussed on innovation and value creation.
In this scenario businesses will require less physical space and owned real estate. Core locations must be attractive ‘places to be’ as they will play a key role in talent attraction and retention. By 2030 30% of corporate office portfolios will comprise flexible space, including co−working, incubator and accelerator space. Connectivity will become a key competitive advantage – as vital to workplaces as the provision of water, electricity and gas, and a key driver of location and real estate decisions.

Take health and wellbeing seriously
Drab, airless offices aren’t good for anyone. Better design, combined with the rise of smart buildings, can help to improve indoor air quality, make the most of natural light and create active workplaces. This can have a big impact on productivity, sustainability and wellbeing, which is good for both companies and employees.

This article was first published on JLL Real Views, JLL’s global site providing expert insights on the trends and developments shaping real estate.

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