Australia’s workplace will revolutionise over the next 15 years, with new research forecasting 50% of occupations today will no longer exist by 2025 as people take up more creative professions.
That’s just one of the key findings of a new white paper – Fast Forward 2030: The Future of Work and the Workplace – launched jointly by CBRE and Genesis, a leading real estate innovator, developer and operator from China.
CBRE Director of Workplace Strategy, Asia Pacific, Peter Andrew said the next 15 years would see a major transformation in how we work, as well as how we plan and think about workplaces.
“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,” said Mr Andrew.
The report highlights that by 2025, process work, customer work and vast swathes of middle management will simply disappear, accounting for 50% of occupations today that will no longer exist.
CBRE Associate Director, Global Corporate Services, Tony Armstrong said the physical workplace would also evolve significantly, with office numbers increasing and greater emphasis on space diversity.
“Diversifying space will be pivotal to the future workplace. Having the right balance between work stations and quiet spaces will be the difference between a good workspace and a bad one,” Mr Armstrong said.
“Already we are starting to see that there is more demand for silent spaces, where people can focus, collaborate and be creative.”
Mr Armstrong went on to say that greater diversity of space in office buildings was intrinsic to providing employers more flexibility.
“There will be greater emphasis on café spaces in the future, with these acting as overflow and meeting areas that help promote impromptu meetings, which in turn foster creativity and collaboration,” Mr Armstrong said.
Mr Armstrong said the modern workplace would still be based on the Activity Based Working model, however, due to its widespread prevalence in 2030, it would no longer be referred to as ABW.
He explained: “ABW will become a redundant term. With technology continually evolving, people will only become more mobile, making the idea of stationed desks significantly outdated and flexibility and diversity more important than ever.”
The CBRE and Genesis report highlights that landlords must focus more on delivering services in the modern workplace, with buildings offering healthier work environments and greater services in addition to basic lease tenancies. The tenant will expect the landlord to provide the ‘hardware’ (i.e. the building) and the ‘software’ (i.e. the services) to support the curation of a desirable experience for the employee.
“Work has become a consumer experience. If you are going to devote such a large portion of your life to work, making yourself contactable almost 24/7, then you’re going to shop around for the best experience, taking into account the quality of the work environment,” Mr Armstrong said.
CBRE is leading the way with creating a revolutionary workplace, after the firm’s downtown Los Angeles corporate headquarters was the first office in the world to be WELL Certified by the International WELL Building Institute.
In recognition of the office’s innovative design, CBRE was recently awarded the H. Bruce Russell Global Innovator’s Award from CoreNet Global.
Mr Armstrong said the certification was evidence of shifting attitudes in the workplace, and CBRE is now advising clients in regard to healthy workplaces.
“A fundamental driver for a healthy workplace is that it simply makes good business sense. The Bloomberg corporation has an outstanding corporate wellness program and they are proud to be supporting the health of their people, but they are always quick to emphasise that it makes perfect business sense to do so – the program is a strategic investment with real return on investment,” Mr Armstrong explained.
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.
Genesis Chief Operating Officer, Martin Chen, said: “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.”
He added: “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% 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
() Many Asian parents share this outlook for their children
() 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 the 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.
High Performance Workplace of the Future
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,” Mr 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,” Mr Andrew commented.
The report also underlines a range of other findings, including:
() The need to improve employee experience through more meaningful workplaces, and the desire for mood-based working
() A desire for better virtual connectivity to replicate the physical community
() That the physical workplace will become more important even though the ability to work virtually increases, with 77% of interviewees responding as such
() We will move from thinking about workplaces, towards ‘places to work’, including outside the office
() The birth of aggregators could help unlock currently unused but available workspace. New providers will be able to come to market: corporates shedding excess space; retailers and developers providing co-working or club facilities for tenants.
() There is a need for an owner of the “work experience” at c-suite level