Magnetizing the Post-Pandemic Workplace

March 1, 2022 4 Minute Read

Magnetizing the Post-Pandemic Workplace

Faced with rapidly accelerating business and dramatically different employees, companies are having to quickly figure out what their post-pandemic workplaces will look like, and what role real estate will play in the process. One thing is clear, going back to the office won’t be as simple as flicking on the fluorescent lights.

A CBRE Occupier Sentiment Survey found that, moving forward, the vast majority of companies are planning to be back in the office for at least half of the work week, if not more.

Forty-seven percent of large companies (those with over 10,000 employees) and 33% of medium-sized companies (100 to 9,999 employees) indicated that they would pursue an equal mix of remote and office-based work.

Just 19% of small companies (fewer than 100 employees) had settled on the same policy. Twenty-six percent indicated they would have no remote work option.

Clearly, an industry standard has yet to emerge. Organizations will tailor their future office solutions to their own individual workforces’, and they will be based on factors including culture, attraction and retention, and business priorities.

While organizations are itching to get back to the office in some capacity, their employees will need more convincing. After spending the last two years successfully working from home, staff won’t be satisfied simply sitting at a desk. To entice employees back to the office, companies will need to magnetize their workplaces with revamped spaces and upgraded amenities.

“Organizations must be focused on creating really great social, collaborative spaces where employees can engage with one another and truly benefit from being in the same environment – the very thing we have been so sorely missing during the past two years,” says CBRE’s Senior Vice President, Client Strategy, Lisa Fulford-Roy.

“Companies can make this transition a seamless one, but it requires an integrated approach with Talent, CRE and IT stakeholders to first understand what employees will value as consumers of space. A people-centric workplace solution rooted in experience, purpose and flexibility can foster culture with moments that matter and sustain high levels of team engagement.”

Organizations must focus on creating great social, collaborative spaces where employees can truly benefit from being in the same environment. - Lisa Fulford-Roy

Flexible Spaces

The post-pandemic office building will play host to an increasing number of hospitality-inspired amenities.

Thirty percent of companies surveyed by CBRE indicated that outdoor amenities would be the most in-demand building feature of the future, while 23% believed that fitness facilities were of the utmost importance. Onsite food and beverage options and access to public transportation were both chosen by 21% of respondents, and 12% of companies saw concierge services as the most desired feature.

While such amenities will no doubt be welcomed by workers, the most desired attributes of a post-COVID office are those that favour flexible shared space and infrastructure.

Sixty-three percent of companies saw flexible office space as the most in-demand feature. Flexible open space was sought-after by 56% of respondents, while 54% favoured indoor air quality.

The trends held steady amongst large companies as well as tech, media, and telecom businesses, though shared meeting space emerged as a highly valued asset as well.

Financial services companies were more likely than their peers to rank connected tech/building apps, touchless technology, and sustainable building design as in-demand qualities.

Future of workplace - Amenities that will attract employees

Welcoming Amenities

Just as the physical office space is adapted to meet the future of the workplace, the more intangible office amenities will need to be altered, too.

Features that focus on creating a welcoming environment and support employee health and well-being will be paramount to getting people back to their desks.

Amenity strategies should centre around human needs and create experiences that are unique, memorable, and fulfilling. There will be more “moments that matter.” Examples include days of service, community outreach, designated “do not disturb” time, culture crews, mental health days and team outings.

With the end of the pandemic drawing closer, companies that intentionally align their plans with employee’s needs will be better able to retain talent and ultimately create a more productive and engaging workplace.

Through flexible spaces, team zones and people-focused amenities, businesses can magnetize their workplaces, and transform the office into a place that employees want to be, rather than somewhere they have to be.

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