Driven by technology innovation and changing employee preferences, today’s office environment has evolved into more than just rows of cubicles, private offices and an employee breakroom. Office space is a depiction of a company’s culture and should be conducive to the way people work in today’s highly connected and mobile world. Shifting to a flexible, tech-enabled and experience-centered office space can play a critical role in employee retention, engagement and productivity, which in turn, can drive better business performance. Additionally, many features of the modern-day workplace can offer environmental and bottom-line benefits.
At CBRE, our global Workplace360 initiative, which has been implemented in more than 50 CBRE offices around the world, has revolutionized how the company utilizes space. Employees are reporting favorable feedback, with 93 percent of employees reporting that they believe Workplace360 reflects a reinvestment in employees, processes and technology.
With 2018 around the bend, it’s important for companies to consider how the workplace can impact employee engagement and business outcomes. We expect the following four workplace trends to continue to gain prominence in 2018.
The Smart Office – Technology integration should be at the core of any workplace strategy. This investment results in increased productivity, efficiency and communication. When information moves more rapidly at an office, decisions can be made more efficiently. Simple technology upgrades include web-based storage solutions, messaging and meeting applications, and plug-and-play technologies that allow employees to be mobile throughout the office and from anywhere in the world.
Free-address – Leave assigned seating for the classroom. Instead, offer employees the opportunity to determine how and where they work, whether that is at an open workstation, an enclosed office for when privacy is needed, in a conference room for quick huddles or meetings or on the road. Unassigned seating can inspire spontaneous collaboration.
Focus on Wellness – Offices that promote healthy workplaces result in healthier, happier employees. Providing sit/stand and treadmill desks reduces sedentary behavior while wellness rooms, healthy snacks and hydration stations throughout the space are also helpful in driving this effort. Some offices even offer weekly group fitness classes and challenges. Other wellness features include interconnected floors to encourage the use of stairs, abundant natural light and health-conscious meal options. Many offices, including a number of Workplace360 offices, have implemented food-free zones to encourage employees to take a break from their screens and connect with colleagues while enjoying lunch.
Paper No More – Cloud-based storage solutions make it entirely possible for offices to go paperless. Paperless environments are not only sustainable, they are the way of the future. A paperless office can be implemented simply by scanning and saving all paper files to a cloud-based storage solution, giving employees access to their files anywhere, anytime, 24 hours day. At Workplace360 offices, nearly 80 percent of paper files have been digitized through thoughtful and structured change-management programs where employees have purged and recycled thousands of documents.
Craig Henig is senior managing director of CBRE’s Phoenix office and also serves as Arizona market leader. Additionally, Henig co-leads the Southwest Market Area, overseeing Advisory Services including Advisory and Transaction Services, Capital Markets, Investor Services, Valuation, Debt & Structured Finance, Labor Analytics, Transaction Management and Occupier Services for the Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City offices.