Time to invest in quality space and smart tech says JLL report

This WORKTECH Wednesday Briefing looks at the key challenges for CRE professionals identified by JLL’s Future of Work 2022 survey – and finds that there’s a lot on their plate

‘Never mind the quality, feel the width’ used to be the watchword in the rag trade. Now the opposite is true for the hybrid office. According to a new survey by JLL of more than one thousand corporate real-estate (CRE) professionals in 13 key markets around the world, investing in quality space is set to be a greater priority than expanding the total footprint.

The ‘flight to quality’ with attendant focus on better design, already identified via successive WORKTECH conferences and reports, is gathering pace. According to JLL’s research, 46 per cent of companies plan to accelerate investment in workplace design projects that are intended to improve employee engagement and wellbeing, and 42 per cent will increase spending to improve indoor air quality.

The survey also exposes a number of other significant challenges for the future of the workplace.

Workers aren’t about to give up on flexibility easily, so more than half of all organisations (53 percent of the survey) are set to make remote working permanently available to all employees by 2025.

‘Hybrid working is here to stay ,’ says the JLL report. It is a message that strategic decision-makers cannot ignore. More than 90 per cent of all employers now offer some form of hybrid work option, mindful of the impact on talent recruitment and retention.

‘The pressure is on to deliver clear environmental and social outcomes over smaller periods of time…’

Organisations will also need to prioritise ESG (environmental, social and governance) issues in order to meet stakeholder demand and achieve positive impacts through their real estate. The pressure is mounting to deliver clear environmental and social outcomes over smaller periods of time.

JLL expects portfolios to be transformed by aspirations in this arena, especially in terms of improving carbon efficiency, influencing new locations, embracing circular design principles and exiting less carbon-efficient space.

But that’s not all. As real estate needs become more complex and sophisticated, the survey suggests that new partnerships will be key; in particular, there will be more outsourcing of wellbeing and sustainability services in an emerging ecosystem of partners.

CRE functions will also need to double down on investment in smart technology and data analytics. Six out of ten companies currently fail to capture real estate data in any meaningful way, but there is brighter news on the horizon: 55 per cent of companies are making plans to introduce VR and other immersive technologies.

The JLL report identifies a ‘window of opportunity’ between now and 2025 for CRE professionals to deliver a fresh, future-facing agenda. With quality space, hybrid employee expectations, ESG stakeholder demands, partnership ecosystems and technology investments all on the plate, there’s a lot to think about. Explore JLL’s Future of Work 2022 Survey here.

Singapore speaks about hybrid

Clearly, there has never been a more challenging time to be a senior professional in corporate real estate. From the resistance of the return to the office to redesigning spaces for hybrid working, it’s not difficult to see why many leaders are losing their way on their journey to hybrid.

This years’ WORKTECH22 Singapore conference looks at some of the biggest challenges facing the workplace and how we can tackle new challenges through a people-centric lens. The event takes place on Thursday 15 September at Cisco Systems, Mapletree Business City, Singapore, and will host 15 thought-leading experts to debate the world of hybrid and its impact on the workplace. This includes Erwin Chong, the group head of corporate real estate strategy at DBS Bank, who will explore how organisations can redefine the role and value of the physical office space.

Book your place here.

In our WORKTECH Wednesday Briefings, we reach out to our 10,000-plus Academy members, WORKTECH attendees, speakers, partners and sponsors while WORKTECH’s professional conference series continues through our in-person, virtual and hybrid platforms. This edition is posted 24 August 2022.
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