How do you picture an office? Maybe you conjure a place where administrative-type work is done. Desks, copiers, cubicles, etc. Its main purpose is to support the occupants in performing their job—whatever that job may be.
But that image doesn’t inspire you the way the office of today is supposed to. The office has evolved and taken on a different personality than it had in the past.
“From an employee perspective, it’s moved from the place you have to go to work to the place where you want to go to work, and hopefully to the place where you do your best work.”
Less orderly, structural and procedural. More creative, innovative and collaborative.
From a corporate perspective, it’s a solution to utilization and density problems. On average, only about 60 percent of an office is in use at any given time. And smart real estate teams are hitting two levers to fix that problem: workplace and workforce.
An alarming number of employees are unhappy with their workplace. What’s the solution? The answer in many cases has been an open, uber-modern workspace. But that likely only has longevity for younger, fast-paced industries. For traditional sectors, JLL research director Ben Breslau thinks the pendulum will swing back a little. A revitalized workspace can boost productivity, but not everyone works the same way.
Getting real estate right in the future will be as much about lifecycle as it is about lifestyle. People are getting older, and as a result, the workforce is getting younger. As the workforce becomes more multigenerational, companies need to take a much more diverse approach to thinking about office space. Different generations have different approaches to life and work. Sometimes they have opposing preferences.
“The goal, and the challenge, is to create an office that will cater to each generation, across multiple work styles and functions.”
There’s a sweet spot, says Breslau, between what all of your employees want and what your company needs. Finding that balance is key.
JLL Staff Reporter, Behind-the-scenes
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