In the last post I talked about how a world of physical products is increasingly being replaced by digital services, and how the expectations that clients have of business software are increasingly shaped by the experiences they have with digital consumer services. In this post, I will talk about how we are responding to a fast-changing world of work.
1. Flexible Working Is Fast Becoming the Norm
Looking at last year’s CBRE Global Occupier Survey, a survey that is very much aligned with the kind of clients that we have, 49% of employees surveyed saw flexible working as a key feature of the workplace. The trend is strongest in EMEA (64%), also strong in the U.S.(42%), but less pronounced in APAC (36%).
With more and more people working flexibly, from home, in the office, or in third spaces, the relationship they have with their workspace is changing. When people come to the office, they often do so for specific activities they can best do there. In this context, Activity Based Working (ABW) is a phrase that has been on everyone’s lips over the last few years. Leesman did an interesting piece of research about ABW, and in what aspects activity-based environments perform well, for example creative thinking, informal meetings, or collaboration. Looking at Leesman’s mobility profiles for workers, it’s clear to see that ABW still has a long way to go, with a third of workers still preferring a fixed workstation, and 41% of workers just starting to explore other workspaces for some of their work. So, whilst flexible working is well established, at least in EMEA and the U.S., the reconfiguration of workspaces away from desks to spaces that support specific activities is still at the beginning.
So, what does this mean for Condeco? As an organisation, we have an opportunity to help our clients shape that new relationship that their workers have with their workspace. One of our key areas of focus for 2017 is improving support for all these spaces, that are not meeting rooms or desks, to help our clients better manage an activity-based workspace. Another area of focus is video collaboration; providing a seamless solution that enables people to come together wherever they are, and whatever equipment they have. We are also launching our new desk screen, which is a device that enables users to quickly see if a space is available and book it by just touching their access card. The device can be used for many spaces such as offices, desks, phone booths amongst others.
2. Organizations Still Want to Make Best Use of Space…
But, at the end of the day, organizations still come to us because they want to make better use of their workspace. I have talked to more than 45 clients in the last few months, and more than half stated that one of their key objectives is to make better use of their space, and slightly less than half of those interviewed wanted to get more evidence how space is currently used. And they are just the ones who explicitly stated that.
In Corporate Real Estate, according to CBRE, cost escalation is still the biggest concern, and globally the figures are pretty aligned here: 44% of companies in the Americas, 41% in EMEA, and 42% in APAC stated that the cost of real estate is a leading challenge. And across the board globally 79% of companies surveyed said that space efficiency has the greatest impact on costs. Now that’s great, because as a company, this is one of our product sweet spots; we help companies getting the most out of their space, and across our product range we will continue to focus on how we can help our clients drive up workspace utilization.
3. ...But Not at the Expense of Collaboration, Talent Attraction and Productivity.
But what’s interesting is that is that no one want to squeeze more out of their buildings at the expense of the expense of collaboration, talent attraction, and productivity. In the big metropolitan hubs, talent acquisition and retention is a big problem, and employers want to provide a workspace that people love to use.
So, looking one more time at the CBRE survey, as main drivers for workplace strategy, 55% stated “better collaboration”, 49% “employee attraction and retention”, 43% “increased productivity”, and “cost savings” came to 49%. You get the picture. When I talked to our clients recently, 26 out of 45 explicitly stated that their objective was to “offer an improved user experience”.
So What Does This Mean for Condeco?
So for us, another key focus for 2017 is to continue building a great user experience that is simple, responsive, personal and helps people work, meet and collaborate whatever device they are on, wherever they are.
From all here at Condeco, we wish you all the best for 2017. Feel free to get in touch with us. We’d love to hear from you, and help you get the most out of your workspace.