Emerging trends in the workplace point to a revolution in the way workplaces operate in the next 15 years, according to a white paper launched jointly by CBRE and Genesis, a leading real estate innovator, developer and operator from China.
The paper — Fast Forward 2030: The Future of Work and the Workplace — is based on interviews with experts, business leaders and young people from Asia Pacific, Europe and North America, and covers a broad range of topics including: how workplaces will change, how landlords must adapt, and how employees themselves are changing.
“The next fifteen years will see a revolution in how we work, and a corresponding revolution will necessarily take place on how we plan and think about workplaces,” said Peter Andrew, Director of Workplace Strategy for CBRE Asia Pacific.
“The dramatic changes in how people work that we have seen in the past two decades will continue evolving over the next 15 years, opening up new opportunities for companies to create value and enhance employee performance through innovative workplace strategies and designs. Many of these opportunities have in fact already arrived, and by seizing them early, smart companies can gain a competitive advantage,”
Martin Chen, chief operating officer of Genesis, said, “Experts predict that 50 percent of occupations today will no longer exist by 2025 as people will take up more creative professions. This means that jobs will evolve and so will real estate development.
“Through this report, we are looking to better understand how we can create new high-performance, convenient workspaces that are not only aesthetically pleasing, but are also in line with the social values of the workforce of the future.
“This research provides a new perspective for the real estate industry, and we hope will help pave the way for shaping the cities of the future by improving the quality of work and life.”
The key findings of the report were as follows:
1. Artificial intelligence will transform businesses and the work that people do. Process work, customer work and vast swathes of middle management will simply disappear: 50 percent of occupations today will no longer exist in 2025.
New jobs will require creative intelligence, social and emotional intelligence and the ability to leverage artificial intelligence. Those jobs will be immensely more fulfilling than today’s jobs.
Workspaces with row of desks as we know them today will be completely redundant. Not because they are not fit for purpose, but simply because that purpose no longer exists.
2. For employees, purpose is more important than financial success.
There is a significant and global trend amongst all people, but particularly the youth, towards happiness, purpose and meaning being as or more important than financial success.
Corporations will not only need to be lean and agile, they must be authentic to attract talent: authentic in their values and in making a real contribution to the social good.
As the nature of work changes we expect to see more social entrepreneurship.
3. Emergence of online trading for real estate
By 2030, the majority of real estate transactions may be made online, and the majority of transactions will be made by the users of the space using real time marketplaces (similar to Uber) that help find the best and most effective place to work.
Real estate traditionally changes slowly, but these new emerging aggregators could revolutionize the market, allowing tenants and many types of building owners in cities to contribute wasted and unused space back into an eco-system of available space.
4. Landlords to focus more on delivering services
Buildings will be much healthier environments, and landlords will need to create partnerships with providers who can help create services and experiences in addition to basic lease tenancies.
As landlords start delivering more complete solutions, they will rate their building’s value not by the cash flow of rent but in the cash flow from the services.
Given the coming dramatic changes in how we work, companies will need to re-learn how to obtain high performance from employees and contractors.
“The ability to attract and retain top talent will be the top competitive advantage for businesses in 2030, followed by innovation, adaptability, and technology adoption. The design and organization of the new workplace will be key to achieving this,” Chen added.
Young people interviewed for the report clearly indicated that the workplaces of 2030 will contrast starkly to the workplaces of today and will offer a wide variety of quiet retreat and collaborative settings, each ideal for a specific kind of job or task or designed to suit a specific personal work style.
In particular, young interviewees suggested that workplaces of the future will need to support worker health and wellbeing — as did all industry experts and business leaders interviewed for the study. The budding industry of wellness in buildings will grow rapidly in the coming decade.
In order to help businesses achieve these goals, landlords and the real estate industry will also need to adapt.
“Interviewees and those from the younger generation were clear on the need for a more holistic approach to places for work. Traditionally slow to change, the real estate industry must shift from being just a space provider to curators of experience and builders of community –and shape ‘win-win’ partnerships with tenants and new players. There is significant prize for those who understand and commercialize the next generation of real estate solutions,” Andrew commented.