Substantial socioeconomic, technological, and business forces are emerging to change the future of work. According to Colliers’ “Defining a Work Revolution” study, companies and their corporate real estate teams must balance three key components to best meet the new work realities and maximize future growth: workforce, workplace and workspace. Taking a “Mosaic” approach that responds to the challenges in all three areas could best align real estate and work experience, says Chris Zlocki, the CRE company’s head of client experience and EVP in global occupier services.
“Determining what your office should look and feel like should be based on the focused interactions of people, place and space,” Zlocki said. “Never has there been a greater opportunity for real estate and facilities to play a key role in the business strategy. CRE executives should ensure they are aligned on the revised mission and direction of the businesses they serve.”
The demand for skilled and diverse talent is intensifying the need to create a work culture that, according to Zlocki, serves as a magnet for the best talent in the market. To do so, organizations must balance demographic preferences for work environment, flexibility, and location.
It is no secret that the workplace is being redefined, from headquarter offices to flex facilities. Companies must learn from the recent years of virtual and revised work practices – all this pertinent information serving as customized intelligence to inform return-to-office and future of work possibilities. And they will now have the added advantage of being able to leverage innovative technologies to enable workflow automation, collaboration and facilities management solutions that are more effective, flexible, and environmentally sustainable.
“The office look will be based the degree of what hybrid model the company wants to rely on to support the location and type of office they need,” Zlocki said.
Lastly, there is the workspace transformation, which should incorporate standards of engagement, belonging, equity and inclusion, collaboration, and efficiency. Intended use and cultural imperatives should be aligned to define how the office will be configured.
“Whether redesigning an office to accommodate increased heads-down work and collaborative team building or developing an R&D lab that can be flexibly reconfigured, every workspace can be optimized to promote innovation, increased productivity and employee engagement while reflecting your company’s unique DNA,” Zlocki added.
Colliers recently completed a project at a 1.5 million-square-foot knowledge worker campus in a suburb of Minneapolis, United States. Its future of work recommendations for the company’s hybrid work plan included an integrated approach to real estate strategy, workforce/labor analytics and workplace advisory services. Colliers defines this delivery of services as a unique “mosaic” that is designed specifically for optimal results relative to each project.
“In this instance we developed a plan that was based on detangling the individual businesses from their real estate types that will convert an inflexible solution to a highly agile set of alternatives. This strategy will allow the client more options as their hybrid work enablement plan evolves. We analyzed the critical operational and financial factors including how hybrid work will be supported, the attractiveness of the campus for new and current talent and how the office should be defined to support the new ways of work,” Zlocki said. “The proposed solution provides a triple bottom-line effect of reducing cost, improving the cultural alignment of the space to the work and providing contemporary workspace to support the growth of the business.”
Other key drivers noted in their ‘Defining a Work Revolution’ study include challenging topics such as creating more diverse, equitable and inclusive cultures; empowering women to remain in the workforce; promoting health and well-being in the workplace; committing to sustainability; and evolving for AI and automation.
“The days of universal standards and guidelines are over as a one size approach will not fit all,” Zlocki said. “The workplace will now be intentional in how it is used: for focused or individual work, for enabling collaboration, curating social events or reinforcing traditional face-to-face meetings.”