Due to rapid advances in technology, working remotely is more popular than ever. Companies require less office space which effects their bottom line while providing the flexible work lifestyle that employees are demanding. We see more and more employers offering flexible working hours that consider employees lives inside and outside the office. We even see employer expectations of digital and technological skills shifting from basic to advance, to even more advance. These expectations have extended beyond the technology and software development space into the commercial real estate industry.
We see this trend effecting not only the real estate industry in general, but how CRE businesses themselves are ran within. It’s crucial for companies to understand how these changes are affecting the industry environment, in addition to how real estate companies’ themselves need to adapt to attract and retain the best talent in order to stay competitive! Oncoming societal trends WILL continue to push these remote trends in the future, further cementing that remote working and flexible hours are trends that are here to stay. Remote work is no longer a privilege, it’s become the standard operating mode for a large percentage of the US population, and even the world. 70% of people globally work remotely at least once per week, according to a recent CNBC article.
Each year this global shift towards remote friendly workplaces is being reinforced and flexible schedules is almost expected. This will be further driven by the influx of Generation Z, or “digital natives”, into the workforce. By 2020, Gen Z will comprise 36% of the global workforce, and as members who are extremely comfortable with newer technology, they are more inclined to seek remote or flexible working arrangements. Technology has always been the driving force behind remote working, but we can see changing cultural attitudes is another major component. It is important for companies to understand when attracting top talent, demonstrating that they value a complete work-life balance for their employees has become pivotal.
From an industry perspective, the real estate sector is seeing tenant preferences changing due to increasing urbanization and globalization, changing workforce demands (flexible location and work spaces), and technology advancements. With flexible working styles rapidly growing, cities and offices are being transformed. For example, visiting “in the office” days are becoming more popular as well, as the biggest reported struggle of remote work is lack of community, which is why we see a rise in community office systems such as WeWork and encouragement of employees to come into the office once per week/month. With these insights, we can see long-term market trends are turning against “traditional” offices and companies even looking to reduce the amount of space they lease per worker. These rapidly growing social, technological and economic trends are now reshaping CRE companies’ ideas about not only the modern office, but the modern culture.
Essentially, real estate and technology are often looked at as different realms, but there’s a growing overlap between the two sectors. It’s crucial for CRE companies to continue to monitor the evolution of these trends in order to understand how they will impact the future of both the real estate industry itself, and how the companies must operate within to attract top talent by keeping up with the technological trends and balanced work-life values.
Vanessa Hamilton, Director, About Vanessa