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How Are Workspaces Evolving?

The trends that drive workplaces to change are also the trends that have lasting effects on the commercial real estate industry and the needs of tenants. The past years in the workplace have been full of breaking down office walls, opening up floor plans and changing the traditional boundaries of where employees conduct their work. These design and cultural changes beg the questions: how are workspaces evolving and how does it impact CRE?

The ever-changing workspace of today owes its evolution to many factors. The types of jobs that people have today are changing, becoming more technologically focused or media-based. Employers have taken employee satisfaction to new levels in order to cater to a growing workforce of young people who are more likely to change jobs than older generations. According to a Gallup study, six out of ten millennials are looking for new job opportunities while at their current job. And perhaps one of the biggest shifts in the workplace is that it doesn’t just have to be the physical workplace of one employer or company. Coworking has taken the industry by storm and has had a huge effect on how are workspaces evolving.

How Tech Evolves Workspaces

With the ability of workers to do their work electronically comes the need for office spaces to be properly equipped to handle large quantities of technology. This not only means a reliable connection to Wi-Fi and cell-phone signal, but also incorporates things such as lighting and desk use. When workers are constantly looking at screens, it is possible that a workplace may be overly lit to the point that work becomes difficult. Addressing these workplace lighting concerns and outfitting a space to use lighting as ergonomically as possible is a must in today’s workspaces.

Employer satisfaction in the workplace is not something that is measured by the amount of coffee machines or foosball tables, but by how effectively they can do their job. Collaboration between employees and other members of the company is often crucial for a happy workforce and many offices have foregone offices and cubicles for open concept offices. Recently, the idea that open plan offices would lead to more collaboration has been busted by a Harvard study that shows that open offices often lead to a sharp decline in face-to-face interaction. The need for a bit of privacy in an open plan office has led many businesses to adopt more transitional spaces called productivity spaces and rooms to give their employees some privacy. Many businesses look for places where they can build upon an open floor plan and make it more conducive to employee privacy and concentration.

Mobile Workforce

As open plan offices are becoming increasingly unpopular, the idea that an employee doesn’t need to be present in the workplace to complete their work is becoming increasingly accepted. The most recent and pervasive trend in the commercial real estate industry is the increasing presence of coworking spaces. This relatively new trend did not have an immediate surge of popularity but in recent years has become the way that many individual workers, offices and even entire companies conduct their business. Coworking and flexible workspaces have greatly affected CRE in recent years, as many tenants have begun demanding shorter and more flexible lease terms. Coworking spaces also drive the demand for an office to be outfitted with specific and hospitality-driven features. While the industry must change with the demands, coworking spaces often offer an opportunity for owners and landlords to build relationships with growing companies who may one day want to expand into their own office space.

These trends in how how are workspaces are evolving, when addressed and focused on, can create real opportunities for CRE owners and operators. The more flexible and adaptable your space is, the more tenants and businesses will want to expand and grow in your property. While the workplace may be changing every day, the job of a property owner to be flexible, knowledgeable and adaptable will always remain consistent.