The Workplace of the Future
Many are predicting dramatic changes to the workplace stemming from the emerging utilization of mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets, cloud computing, changing demographics in the workforce and corporate efficiency initiatives.
Office furniture designer and manufacturer Teknion recently released the results of “Workplace of the Future” a survey of approximately 30 U.S. large employers and design firms comprised of CoreNet Global members.
Survey findings indicate that, by 2015, workplace utilization is expected to increase from levels between 35% and 50% today to 85%, as the desk-to-employee ratio is addressed and space is reapportioned. Strategies that companies are employing to accomplish increased space utilization include:
- 77% – Open, collaborative workspaces with fewer offices
- 62% – Densification of workspaces
- 54% – Reduce square footage footprint through disposition
- 46% – More employees working remotely, from home, satellite or client sites
- 31% – Mobile working programs including desk-sharing, hoteling or coworking spaces
Last month, the BOMA Foundation, in conjunction with the Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate, School of Continuing Studies, Georgetown University, held a Thought Leaders Symposium: “2025: A Vision for Commercial Real Estate.” The CoStar Group recently posted a recap of the key themes from the event.
How Fast will the Corporate Enterprise Respond?
Some industry experts are predicting that average workspace allocations per employee will be reduced from 200 square feet to 100 square feet per person — if not not even more drastically by 2015. The idea of putting more people in less space certainly seems here to stay. However according to the Teknion survey 78% of the companies polled have less than 10% of their employees working from home more than one day a week but are expected to increasingly employ this strategy. In general terms, I see the future of Workplace Mobility as one of a blended solution whereby more employees are allowed the flexibility of working from home part of the time but are still required to work from the office as the importance of “face to face” collaboration will be increasingly realized.
The concept of the activity based workplace will be employed by more and more companies, but these are pretty substantial changes to the workplace environment and radically reshaping business processes creates significant challenges from both the perspective of the I.T. Department and Human Resources. While I believe these changes are inevitable, I am not sure the time horizon to transform the workplace will take place as quickly as some are projecting.
Tenant Rep is Getting More Complicated
In the past the corporate real estate department has been required to primarily interface with Finance and Operations. However, we are entering a new era whereby the I.T and Human Resources function will have a more critical role to play, and for service providers like myself we must expand our familiarity with these disciplines.