Will the rise of the omni-channel worker reshape corporate real estate?

As more organisations move to a hybrid or ‘work from anywhere’ model, what does this mean for the future of the office? A new report by Australian developer Mirvac suggests there are parallels with omni-channel retailing

A new ‘omni-channel’ scenario for work is emerging in the aftermath of the global pandemic that could change the way that office buildings are used in the future, according to a new report from Australian developer Mirvac.

The report, ‘From Office to Omni-Channel: The rise of the omni-channel worker in the digital age’, explains how the acceleration of a trend towards more flexible and home working amid the Covid-19 crisis has demonstrated the potential and the capacity for employees to work anywhere using virtual, cloud-based technologies. This in turn is paving the way for an omni-channel approach to working in which employees collaborate across a continuum of time, space and place.

Customer experience at work

Omni-channel working takes its name from omni-channel retailing or commerce, which has been successfully adopted by many big brands and provides a single, seamless customer experience across all channels. This retail parallel is valuable because it provides the workplace with a useful precedent in blending physical and digital channels. Omni-channel working substitutes customer experience and loyalty with employee experience and engagement.

The omni-channel worker report was created in partnership with WORKTECH Academy and  launched at WORKTECH’s Workplace Innovation APAC virtual conference on 25 March 2021. It explores the parameters of this new working model and outlines key case studies that demonstrate how large employers are already responding to these changes.

‘The ecosystem of work has expanded beyond the generic workplace…’

While the corporate office remains a central component of the omni-channel model, the ecosystem is expanded to encompass several other channels of work, each with a specific function. The report discusses the emergence of the omni-channel model in the context of providing more flexibility, choice and consistent experience in work, and balance in work-life.

It highlights the continuing importance of office property within this new model as a hub for culture, innovation, learning and production. It also examines the enabling technologies that will underpin the model, ensuring seamless transitions between different channels, enabling creative collaborations, driving digital equality and using data-driven insights to understand and respond to new working patterns.

Implications for companies

The rise of omni-channel work has significant implications for organisations in terms of supporting the productivity and wellbeing of their employees. The report looks at the adjustments that will need to be made in terms of corporate mindset and leadership strategy. Stories are shared on how companies as diverse at Spotify, UniCredit, Facebook, Scotiabank, GitLab, Telstra, Atlassian and LinkedIn are preparing for an omni-channel future.

The report concludes with pointers and advice for organisations. These relate to using their property portfolio as a platform, and using data to shape and curate new work experiences. Mirvac’s research with WORKTECH Academy suggests omni-channel working is not about a trade-off between physical and digital channels, but rather about a process of digital transformation which in turn offers workers a wider choice of physical places in which to work.

Take a deeper dive into the research in our Innovation Zone.

Listen to a discussion of the report between Paul Edwards of Mirvac and Jeremy Myerson of WORKTECH Academy here.

From Office to Omni-Channel: the rise of the omni-channel worker in a digital age is produced by Mirvac in partnership with WORKTECH Academy. You can download a copy here.
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