By Holly Dutton
“We’re looking at Google and Facebook and seeing how those firms are working,” said Victor Liu, project manager, real estate and facilities planning at Hearst.
Noting that the tech leaders’ modern work/live environments are attracting young talent and increasing productivity, Lui added, “It’s not like coming to ‘work,’ and you’re able to collaborate.”
Lui was among a panel of young leaders who took part in last week’s CoreNet event focused on trends in real estate. All under the age of 35, the group represented a cross-section of industry professionals and included Amanda Carroll, an interior designer at Gensler, Christian Bryan, senior director in administration at IAC, and Christopher Kelly, co-founding principal at Sentry Centers. The panel took questions and shared tips for NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate graduate students on being successful in their field.
The changing workplace environment was a major topic. “We’re finding that clients are more willing to move to centers of influence,” said Carroll, adding that companies have changed their desire for certain properties, and are now more flexible and less rigid and are concerned about lower costs on the front end.
“Innovation and creativity is king,” she said.
The trend toward workplace mobility is growing exponentially, said Bryan. Startup companies taking as little office space as possible is popular and a smart cost-saving method.
Even in Europe, the “open-office” trend is extremely popular, said Carroll.
Employees carrying computers with them, the ratio of people to desks getting smaller and home-based or “roaming” work environments are helping companies save money and retain employees.
Liu pointed to the American Express offices at 250 Hudson Street as a paradigm for workplace mobility. Employees are completely mobile, only come into the office on days they are needed and can choose the days they come in.
“It’s a very flexible program and it works very well for that company,” he said.
And with the changing workplace, companies with an old-school attitude are now faced with updating their styles to attract young talent.
According to a survey by Cisco, 33 percent of young workers are willing to take lower pay for better workspace, less employer influence.
Changing the way a company has been working is not easy, said Liu. The challenge is to present it in a way that demonstrates how they will save money, attract more people, and get more work done.
“This is our culture now and this is how we work these days,” said Liu.
However, a downside for companies is that employees may be harder to monitor and staff may not really feel part of the company.
The panel said getting involved in industry organizations, networking and honing communication skills were keys to their own personal success.
“Build your relationships,” said Liu. “There’s always someone out there that can help you.” He added that refining your “soft skills” and learning to communicate with your boss and co-workers will help you go far.
The panel pointed to the planned Hudson Yards development, Time Warner Center and the Lower East Side’s Lowline Park as developments they believe will be the next hotspots for future workplace centers.