According to Global Talent Trends, 51% of employees wish their company offers a more flexible work option.
In fact, the hybrid workforce model is already embraced by 63% of high-revenue growth companies according to an Accenture report. This has become more popular today with more employees aspiring for choice and flexibility for where and how they work. In this model, employees enjoy a combination of working in the office once a week and working from home for the rest of the week.
Post Brothers, a Philadelphia-based multifamily developer, has already decided to replace their entertainment amenities with more coworking space in common areas whilst Greystar, a large multifamily landlord, is adapting work-from-home trends by updating unit layouts to include work nooks, pods and booths.
With the popularity of freelancing and the dramatic rise of remote working during COVID-19, GWI predicted that more developments that integrate co-living, coworking, and wellness facilities will drive the future of Wellness Lifestyle Real Estate in the coming years. A project in progress in Dallas, Texas is a pioneer of this concept, which is set to feature up to 400 apartments, 50,000 square feet of coworking space and an athletic club with a spa, café, and kids club.
Here are some emerging workplace design concepts that you should consider to build desirable and profitable projects:
Increase in collaborative and flexible spaces
In the 2021 State of Remote Work by Buffer, difficulty in collaboration, communication and loneliness are the top 2 struggles of remote working according to 2,300 global respondents.
As organisations adopt the hybrid setup, it will become increasingly important for employers to create spaces where they can connect and communicate face to face to support that virtual existence.
One best example is James O’Flaherty, Adtrak’s business operations director, who has reconfigured the company’s 16,500-sq-ft space to include team-working spaces through hot desks where workers can book through an app, social spaces to promote dialogue, and rooms equipped with new technology for seamless videoconferencing with remote-working colleagues. Now strategically designed, they decreased their desks from 120 to only 70.
Meanwhile, Robert Mankin, a partner in architecture firm NBBJ’s Los Angeles office, thinks future offices will also need to be more agile and able to change depending on the demands of a given day. This might mean multipurpose furniture that is easy to move to promote collaboration or demountable partitions for moments of privacy.
Salesforce, for example, reduced its desk space by 40% and embraced a floor plan with more team-focused spaces that encourage a balance of individual and collaborative work. The Korean fintech company Hana Bank HQ was also modified to cater to various modes of working, like heads-down individual work, flexible seating, and collaborative spaces that encourage focused team interaction, and lounges for socialising.
Offices in the new normal will be composed of new touchless technology that replaces surfaces like buttons and handles. Other tech inventions might include:
- Face recognition,
- Intelligent signage (to create a frictionless experience and tell you your first meeting is on the third floor), or
- QR codes for things like sit-stand desks
However, the most crucial tech component of the post-COVID-19 office will be a need for a tool to help bridge the gap between remote and in-person staff. As such, companies like Microsoft have debuted elaborate conference rooms with curved tables, projection equipment and specialised mics and cameras that make in-person participants feel like everyone’s present and remote participants feel like everyone’s remote.
According to the Global Wellness Institute, the Global Wellness Workplace is already $48.5Bn in market size in 2020. It is projected to grow by $58.4Bn by 2025, signifying a 3.8% increase. What’s more, is that Australia ranked 10th amongst 20 markets in 2020 with total spending of $1.07billion.
Health has been a rising topic in the workplace even before the pandemic and post-COVID, creating comfortable workspaces that combat stress and improve mental wellness and job performance will become more evident to support employees. There will be an ongoing emphasis on indoor air quality and general sanitation, lighting, and biophilic elements (like plants, green spaces, and views of nature) that can impact employee wellbeing and productivity.
More employers have introduced flexible well-being programs, including giving employees more freedom in choosing when, where, and how they work. Benefits like child/elder care assistance, shorter and more flexible work hours, and more paid leave are gaining momentum in some quarters. Employers/governments in Finland, Iceland, New Zealand, and Japan have also made headlines in their experiments with 4-day work weeks, aimed at combatting burnout and improving engagement.