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Expert Talks | Harnessing the power of the workplace

Offices have evolved and undergone massive transformation in the recent past. The pace of this change has been unprecedented, particularly over the past three to four years, fueled by the pandemic, the emergence of new cutting-edge technology, and the impending climate action imperatives.

While this evolution has led to new business challenges, the opportunities created as a result are equally big. For instance, workplaces now stand reimagined, more magnetic and powerful than ever. .

This article details the potential powers of workplaces today and the core strategies that organisations can deploy to maximise benefits, along with actionable insights and steps to execute these strategies. .

 

1. The greatest power of workplaces is their role in winning the battle for talent.

Companies stand to gain a competitive advantage by using their office as a talent recruitment and retention tool.

ExpertTalkHarnessingThePowerOfTheWorkplace

Actionable insights

  • Examine how your real estate strategy can support talent recruitment and retention goals. For example, assess the suitability of opening new locations to counter the talent crunch in core markets vis-à-vis making remote or international workers a greater part of the employee base and tailor your hiring approach accordingly.
  • Ensure that your office plays to talent needs. Offices can better engage new talent by facilitating learning experiences and creating a consistent corporate identity. Ensure your business is translating these approaches to the remote work environment.
  • Be on top of the hybrid vs. office debate. Hybrid work is playing a greater role in the battle for talent. Employees increasingly prefer organisations that offer flexibility. At the Singapore CoreNet summit in March 2023, nearly half of the surveyed participants shared that the key benefit of hybrid work is better work life balance for their people.
  • Communicate corporate principles to current and prospective hires and demonstrate in practice. Employees appreciate brands that act on their sustainability and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) principles and extend them into the workplace’s everyday reality. Ensure that you are living your values through choices like accessibility features or emphasis on low-carbon buildings.
  • Most importantly, drive employee wellness through a strategic focus on office locations and design.

 


 

2. Workplaces play a strong role in reinforcing your organisation's vision, culture and values.

Leverage this power by re-imagining the workplace to encourage people back to the office.

ExpertTalkHarnessingThePowerOfTheWorkplace

Actionable insights

  • Align your corporate vision with your talent’s values. An organisation’s vision and values have become decisive factors for workers when they are evaluating employers. Ensure that you are honest about your ambitions and how you plan to accomplish them.
  • Make the office space an expression of culture and collaboration. The interplay between space and work is best captured with curated environments exhibiting openness, warmth and dynamism, fostering enhanced collaboration and bonding.
  • Flexibility doesn’t have to be endless. As the office space continues to undergo evolution, find the right balance between the most suitable working style for your business and alignment to your people’s priorities.
  • Give your people a reason to return to the office. Many markets across APAC are at 90% return to office, while the number is 50% or below across much of the US. Employees are increasingly changing jobs in favor of companies that allow them to stay at home.
  • The main disadvantage of hybrid work, according to our surveys, is that 60% of respondents fear either loss of cultural identity or employee engagement. Fostering a culture that keeps employees engaged and finding a way to extend culture beyond the physical confines of the office is critical.

 


 

3.Understand the power of your office space in driving performance, growth and resilience.

To do so, it’s key to create the right portfolio.

ExpertTalkHarnessingThePowerOfTheWorkplace

Actionable insights

  • Keeping “flex” in focus. Organisations will benefit from being driven by their people’s preferences in terms of where they want to work, when they want to work and how they want to work.
  • Explore shorter lease terms and flexible space to drive efficiency and create diverse portfolios catering to different ways of working. This can be considered a form of diversity as well. Some people need collaborative space, while others need quiet space.
  • As per our survey results, two-thirds of respondents foresee using 11% to 40% less space because of hybrid work and the adoption of flexible space. This means that flex and coworking will be part of companies’ location strategy, but traditional leases will continue to form the core of client portfolios.
  • The ability to adapt is paramount. Whether it’s shorter lease terms, usage of on-demand or co-working spaces, or the physical ability to reconfigure a floorplan to align with the office’s changing parameters, businesses must be agile enough to jump to fast-changing trends.
  • Quality matters more than quantity. Optimal locations, high-quality amenities and fit-outs help draw hybrid workers back into a central space, fostering an atmosphere conducive to socialising, team building and creativity, along with reinforcing a positive brand identity. It’s noteworthy that we are witnessing a significant flight to quality in most major markets across APAC and the globe.
  • Cracking the future code of the office is key. This requires understanding how people want to work and accepting that these preferences may differ. Speak to your people and incorporate more flexibility into your portfolio to strike a best-of-all-worlds scenario, where workers are offered access to a range of locations that fit their varying needs and the enterprise can manage space more dynamically.

 


 

4.The workplace’s power to maximise the potential of technology cannot be ignored.

Pave the way for technology adoption and enablement across locations.

ExpertTalkHarnessingThePowerOfTheWorkplace

Actionable insights

  • Explore dashboards for better use and analysis of data. Dashboards that effectively aggregate data and allow it to be displayed in meaningful ways will help guide informed decisions and, by extension, tailored actions.
  • Think through a dedicated and sustainable technology policy. The rules and expectations around technology and data usage are constantly evolving, particularly in the case of brands that work across jurisdictions. It’s essential to establish in-house rules around issues such as data monitoring, collection and security. This will ensure compliance, as well as establish your company as a steward of trust by your employees and other stakeholders.
  • Ensure tech investments are fit for real estate purposes. It’s important to examine technologies with a critical eye to ensure that they contribute directly to portfolio performance or some form of real estate ROI and set a realistic roadmap for adoption.

 


 

5.Finally, acknowledge the power of the workplace in accelerating your environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals.

Translate your ESG ambitions into concrete action, with employees as part of the ESG equation.

ExpertTalkHarnessingThePowerOfTheWorkplace

Actionable insights

  • Start with building ESG into your portfolio decisions from the outset. Locations should be carefully evaluated based on environmental and accessibility criteria.
  • Leverage your real estate strategy to accomplish your net-zero goals through steps such as incorporating green lease clauses. Employees want to work for organisations that walk the talk on their ESG ambitions and are mindful about all their actions.
  • Map out the impact of time and regulatory changes on the viability of your assets. Act with foresight and put your enterprise ahead of the curve as much as possible.
  • Be tactical, there is no ‘one size fits all’ sustainability approach. Rather than trying to do it all, identify specific and feasible courses of action that can be rolled out to multiple locations swiftly, building momentum for further change.
  • DEI is a critical consideration for ESG-compliant real estate strategies and goals. Focus on creating workplaces that prioritise wellbeing.

 


 

We welcome the opportunity to connect with you to discuss any queries that you may have related to your workplace strategy and aim to help you with more insights to accelerate success in the year ahead.

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