Beyond re-entry: An occupier journey to reimagine the next normal

Setting the stage for a workplace fit for the future

September 13, 2020

With the onset of the global pandemic, corporations were focused on protecting employees and implementing business continuity plans. The next phase turned organizations’ attention towards preparing to safely re-enter their space. Now, organizations are faced with a new set of questions on how to grow and thrive from present day to a workplace that is future fit:

  • Recover revenue: What avenues can you take to recover revenue?
  • Rebuild operations: What steps do you need to take to rebuild current operational procedures?
  • Resiliency: How can you better prepare for unanticipated events in order to minimize future disruption and sustain business continuity?
  • Rethink organization and business models: How are you prioritizing the mix of employee needs and preferences with your current organization model and portfolio in order to be future fit?
  • Develop a hybrid workplace model: Can you serve your employees with a hybrid model that allows work options from multiple locations: working from home, working from an office and working from a co-working site?
  • Focus on human experience: How can you ensure that regardless of where your employees are doing their work, that their experience is at the forefront of your operational strategy?
  • Focus on health and wellness: How are you continuing to put employee and tenant health and well-being at the forefront of the operational changes made in re-entry? Do they feel that your buildings and spaces are safe?
  • Make progress on sustainability: How can you continue to make progress towards your ambitious sustainability goals, even as the pandemic creates pressure in other parts of your business?

We view the journey to reimagine as an opportunity for the C-suite and commercial real estate leaders to bring these factors together under three key pillars:

  • re-position portfolios in the built environment
  • re-design historical workplace models
  • re-connect valuable and engaging experiences

Understanding and following the considerations within each pillar gives companies the power to position themselves for success in the next normal. 

In the eBook below, you’ll learn about each pillar and see specific examples of how you can help your organization prioritize transforming portfolios and physical spaces as you embark on your journey to the next normal.

Reposition your portfolio: Address how to evaluate assets, optimize your portfolio and support cost optimization

The function of your space will evolve, but it will always be necessary to support innovation, employee connectivity and productivity. As a result, dynamic, fluid and agile real estate strategies are more important than ever to support business flexibility, talent attraction and employee retention. What will change is how we use the space. Learning, socializing, connecting with company culture and collaborating with colleagues will become the foundation of the workplace.

According to JLL research, portfolio space was already underutilized by 40%. This is a key area of focus for re-positioning portfolios and evaluating how a company utilizes and manages its physical space.

The fluidity between the physical and digital workplace means that employees can use technology to be productive — creating a "work from anywhere" environment. But that’s not the only factor to keep in mind. Coming out of the pandemic, organizations will have the opportunity to reimagine future workspace scenarios. The key will be to establish a hybrid workplace model that mixes options for work-from-home, satellite workspaces and operations, as well as a headquarters location. Enterprises will need to re-evaluate density requirements and workplace strategies alongside changing employee needs in order to determine the right mix of models and assets.

Adding flexible space is a quick and easy way to acquire smaller or satellite offices that reduce commute times and ensure de-densification of space. In fact, JLL Research’s The impact of COVID-19 on flexible space predicts flexible space demand will continue to increase as a result of COVID-19, although in a different form than it took before the pandemic. Overall, we believe 30% of all office space will be consumed flexibly by 2030.

Even prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, 4 out of every 5 employees reported that given two similar job offers, they would turn down the one that didn’t offer flexible working, according to the 2019 IWG Global Workspace Survey. Therefore, remote and flexible working practices are now expected and no longer seen as just a perk.

Redesign spaces: How physical spaces influence collaboration, culture and experience

Organizations have an unprecedented opportunity to evolve their space to priortize employees' health and well-being. Employee mobility programs, inclusive design and collaboration technology will be critical in preparing for the next generation workplace. As the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks standardized security like turnstiles and metal detectors in buildings, the pandemic will have similar effects on health and wellness; society will feel these changes for years to come. There will be a greater emphasis on the building’s role as the first line of defense against disease, and what companies inside those buildings are doing to keep their employees safe.

With the rise of remote working and the realization that focused work can take place anywhere, the task now shifts to reimagining how organizations should re-design their spaces for the updated role of the office. Meeting, exchanging ideas and collaborating with teammates will be central to tomorrow’s workplace, and design will conform to these specific tasks. We foresee the inclusion of spaces that will allow for safe collaboration for varying periods of time, supporting different teams. At the same time, the management of these new flexible working modes requires the adoption of digital solutions to manage flows, space, reservations, facilities management and cleaning schedules. Finally, employee expectations have evolved. A healthy office, both for its users and for the planet, is becoming the new standard. As a result, sustainable design is becoming a major asset in attracting top talent and promoting corporate values.

Reconnect experiences: Connecting the workforce to the workplace of tomorrow

The pandemic forced a global work-from-home experiment that left employees craving connection. JLL’s Future of Global Office Demand Report shows that 44% of employees have missed the human and social interaction made possible by the workplace. Workspaces are also an important facilitator for clear workday routines and distinctions between personal and professional lives. With an emphasis on health and safety, organizations that foster a sense of community and create engaging experiences on and offline will increase employee morale, productivity and long-term business resiliency. 

The physical workspace presents an opportunity for organizations to utilize their space as a vehicle for enhanced collaboration, to boost creativity and reinforce the company culture. It also plays a role in attracting and retaining top talent. This will intrinsically lead to an increased focus on technology-enabled, experiential workplaces that are best utilized for collaborative meetings as well as hosting clients and employees. Rather than simply providing a place to work, this will allow your company and your employees to thrive. 

Is your business prepared to thrive in a post-pandemic world? Take a deeper dive into these topics by downloading the full eBook below. 

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