Out-of-Office: An Insider’s Guide to the Workplaces of the Future

Since remote work has shifted into high gear in recent years, office culture has changed forever. According to various surveys, including one survey conducted by Ryan Holmes, founder of Hootsuite, the majority of workers want to make working remotely a permanent lifestyle change. What is the story behind the numbers, though?  

We set out to deliver the full story of returning to the workplace, a topic that CBRE prides itself on. CEO of TechUnited:NJ Aaron Price met with CBRE’s Executive Vice President David Opper, Senior Managing Director Christelle Menard-Bron, and  Su-Zette Sparks, Senior Managing Director, Americas Workplace Strategy Lead, to get the full scoop.

Self-categorized “data nerds”, CBRE leverages proprietary algorithms, their extensive market research, and a keen sense of culture to ensure that its clients have the best spaces to get work done. Read below to get their thoughts on workplace trends and workspace design, real estate implications and recommendations, and future of work predictions. 

The future of workspaces is flexible, but not for every sector
Most businesses seem to be trending towards flexible remote working options. Aside from businesses taking notice of increased employee productivity under temporary remote work measures, coworking spaces such as WeWork are thriving. The trends within coworking spaces are a good microcosm of what the shape of future workplaces will look like.

Through working with major coworking companies such as Industrious and Regus, Christelle has noticed a shift between enterprise space being the most popular option, to flexible “hotdesking” being the number one choice for both employers and employees.

Enterprise space closely resembles the classic working style of traditional offices; companies request an entire floor dedicated to their business without sharing any amenities. The “hotdesking” option provides the most flexibility to employees, who can drop into any one of a network of office buildings in their area through reserving space on a mobile app. A middle ground is “suite space,” which allows businesses to reserve a portion of a floor to themselves while sharing amenities such as bathrooms, kitchens, and cafe space.

The return-to-work norms vary greatly across sectors, and therefore require different solutions. While major finance players like Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan are pushing for a return to full in-office work, tech companies are much more open to remote and hybrid solutions across the board. 

Office culture shapes your office environment

 “Structure can drive behavior,” says Su-Zette Sparks, but employee sentiment changes can also drive further workplace structural updates. A major difference in the past few years is increased leadership confidence in the work-from-home model. This was pushed greatly by positive feedback and performance from employees, who expressed that increased flexibility is more conducive to a healthy, productive lifestyle.

While some companies have piloted hybrid or remote models in the past, the necessity of a remote option has pushed the general climate forward at hyperspeed. Now, more businesses have adopted the technologies and processes needed to decentralize their workflow while increasing the satisfaction of their team.

How real estate is reacting to coworking

According to David Opper, “People are really seeking built space.”Coworking spaces take the legwork out of designing and building productive workspaces, which saves time and money.  Not only are businesses seeking more flexible office leases, they are looking for the general flexibility that coworking spaces offer. 

Many startups and tech companies are willing to pay a premium for short-term leases or subleases. The rapidly-scaling nature of startups lends well to coworking spaces, where extra space for new team members can easily be added.

Meetings need a connectivity revolution
A lot of the benefits of remote work unfortunately don’t apply to successful meetings. The tangibility of collaboration is important for feeling connected to your coworkers, and to build When you’re in an office, it’s more than a place you work; it’s a place you collaborate and interact. The future of work is leveling the playing field of interactivity in a digital space. Being able to create more accessible, navigable spaces regardless of physical location will be a true revolution in workspaces.

New Jersey can benefit a lot from this shift. 20% of New York Google employees live in New Jersey, which presents the possibility of a hybrid coworking work environment when closer collaboration is needed.

Thank you again to CBRE for powering this discussion and supporting TechUnited:NJ! To learn more about their work in the future of workspace, visit CBRE.com

Catch the full episode on Youtube or listen on the go on Spotify.


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