ORANGE COUNTY-With new workplace demands, more employees in smaller spaces, being one. Both workers and employers need to adapt and, in Emily Watkins’ view be “flexible.” This week, the vice president corporate client development at JLL took some time to cover social media (her preferred platform is Twitter),  new work environments and better education in the commerical real estate industry to allow for more women to thrive. 

GlobeSt: First of all, how do you think the commercial real estate industry can work more towards a positive, more innovative structure in 2013?

I think continuing our efforts to better integrate with other functions is a great start.  The better understanding we have of those bigger-picture strategies, the more effectively we focus our lens on driving innovation.  Additionally, being more creative and exploring innovation-drivers from industries outside of our own, then learning to apply new thinking and strategies within, we’ll generate valuable, positive ideas for our overall structure.

GlobeSt: How do you view the ideal office of the future – one that, hopefully, prompts creativity and productivity? 

I think the ideal office of the future will be flexible.  And I mean that literally: flexible walls, the ability to easily convert space to support both short- and long-term project teams, and provide semi-private space or creative, open, collaborative space. Office space needs to fit the needs of the worker and depends on what he or she needs to accomplish at a given time.

GlobeSt: In the Vlog from last year’s CoreNet Global Summit, you mention how one company effectively used social media. In what ways can the commercial real estate industry benefit from adopting new media and social media? 

Social media gives us the ability to engage with almost anyone at any time. The firms using it well are able to gain a better understanding on and insight to what is important to their customers, employees even competitors. In a world of “B2Me” it’s not about having a great message to consumers; rather, it’s about interacting with those consumers to better your own product or service.

Globest: Which social media platform do you find the most useful and why? 

I love Twitter because it connects me to such a broad wealth of content, ideas and information, while also providing me with the targeted one-on-one engagement platform of direct communication. Where else can you follow-up on yesterday’s conference call with a member of the team hundreds of miles away, then read about the latest in “pop-up” libraries trends from an industry magazine, and  learn about the tiny red West African “miracle berry” … all in the time it takes to have a sip of cappuccino?

GlobeSt:As a woman in the industry, how do you think things could positively change to equally profile men and women? Unless you think that both genders are represented equally already and if so, could you elaborate on that? 

I think our industry has a way to go before we are represented equally, but I do see a lot of momentum in a great direction.  The more we can educate our industry on how diversity generates innovation and successes – both in terms of driving business and leading to a more inclusive workforce – we’ll see more representation.  At Jones Lang LaSalle, I am fortunate to be leading our women-focused Employee Resource Group, The Women’s Network, and every day I’m so impressed with the progress we’re making, the impact have as a resource and the connections we’re making between employees and leadership across our national offices.