future of work: robot-operated warehouse
By Kristi Colmenero

5 Hottest trends for the future of work

The world is emerging from a historic two years. Unlike major events of the last century or so, the pandemic flipped traditional office work on its proverbial head. Waves of change have crashed over the world of work. And nowhere is that more apparent than in commercial and corporate real estate.

The future of work is here. Are you ready? Explore these five trends that will inevitably influence how and where work is done—and how it affects your real estate portfolio.

1. Amplified sustainability efforts

Sustainability has been in the public conscience for years, but changes in environmental policies at the local and national levels, coupled with an employee-driven market, have accelerated the push for companies to go even greener. Generation Z employees entering the workforce are amplifying the trend started by Millennials. They aren’t willing to compromise their values for a job—especially when it comes to the environment.

Industries and organizations that are taking concrete action toward achieving net-zero emissions and doubling down on their sustainability are successful, both financially and in making people want to work for them. Another way to achieve your sustainability goals is to factor in commutes and their impact on the environment.

In fact, according to Gallup, most employees want to reduce the time they spend commuting—which is the number-one reason they prefer the second trend: hybrid work.

2. Hybrid workplaces

In the last two years, organizations have been slow to accept the reality of hybrid work. But the Great Resignation, fueled largely by the desire for hybrid or fully remote work, has resulted in a talent shortage. Hybrid workplaces attract top-tier talent and prevent them from being poached by your competition.

As HR and staffing firm Adecco explains, going hybrid “will boost productivity, foster a better work-life balance, and open hidden pools of talent that will help address the talent scarcity issue.”

Companies that enable hybrid work will encounter another trend: shrinking office footprints.

3. Shrinking office footprints

The hybrid and remote work phenomena have directly impacted portfolio footprints. Anyone who has been in a workplace in the last six months knows there’s an abundance of empty space. The impact this has on commercial and corporate real estate will be felt for years.

“There is less of a need for space than there was, say, three years ago for commercial real estate,” said Lori Louis, global product owner at JLL.

The requirements for spaces have changed, and that, in turn, has caused the fourth trend.

4. Flexible, reconfigurable office spaces

The pandemic changed the nature of work. Millions of people, literally overnight, adapted to working from their dining room tables, home offices, or couches. And many don’t want to return to the way things were before. Employees used to be in the office because they were forced to be. Now, you have to create an environment they want to be in—so they can collaborate, socialize, and solve problems.

That means the purpose and design of the office have to address those demands—as well as the ebb and flow of occupancy that comes with them.

“Flexible spaces and tools are going to be incredibly important. An office will need to balance collaboration, problem-solving, and intense focus as people come back,” explained Louis, who focuses on space design. “The good news is that it doesn’t always require a complete redesign or restructure of the footprint of an office. There are plenty of practical tools out there that make this possible.”

You need workers who can use these tools and technologies to usher in the last trend: digital transformation.

5. Digital transformation

Every industry will be digital in some way or another. That’s a given. But true digital transformation has many touchpoints, and the success of your organization depends on implementing the right tools, technology, skills, and infrastructure to truly change how work is done.

Technology is obviously key to streamlining things such as manufacturing and production—so you can do more with less. However, the impact digitalization has on your people, your workplace experience, and your office culture is more nuanced.

Smart companies recognize the need to reskill and upskill employees, so they can stay ahead of emerging tech like AI and machine-learning. These businesses rely on data and insights instead of conjecture and intuition to boost productivity, make smarter business decisions, and attract and retain the best talent.

The secret to your organization’s success lies in the future. Reverting to the old ways of work means losing talent, flexibility, money, and brand reputation. The way forward may seem complicated, but JLL Technologies offers the tools, expertise, and technologies to transform your business into an intelligent real estate success story.