Reimagining the Workplace

Sun, Jan 15th 2023 01:32pm

Reimagining the Workplace

The modern workplace is continuously evolving. In the past few years, we’ve watched every workplace undergo a series of transformations due to factors that most business owners can’t control, including the pandemic, economic disruptions, automation, and technological advances.

The question is, how can a company adapt and come out on top of these never-ending changes? Part of the solution is understanding what workplaces can control, including workplace trends that are on the rise, how these trends contribute to a productive workplace, and analyzing if they’re a viable opportunity for your company.

Newmark Ciminelli’s workplace strategy experts have identified the top 3 workplace trends that all business owners and employees should be aware of while shifting into 2023. Our team is here to deliver insights that will empower you to redefine your workplace ethos and create a positive and collaborative culture that is tailored to the modern worker.

1. Increased Amenity Offerings and Programming

The flexibility and diversity of workplace amenities has, and will continue to be, a hot topic for workplaces in 2023. With the rise of flexible work schedules, building owners and tenants are demanding more flexible building space and diverse amenities to create lively communities within their space and/or their buildings.

What has become clear since the pandemic is that office space will never disappear, although it will require a new perspective. With the rise of hybrid working combined with a competitive labor market, its become more important than ever for companies to offer a wide variety of amenities and programming to their employees. These amenities may include tenant-only fitness centers, restaurants, coffee shops, various food options, health and wellness offerings, work-friendly lobby space, daycare centers, and increased tenant programming. These public-facing spaces invite tenants to interact and build relationships throughout these collaborative spaces, allowing for a stronger tenant community, and creating interdependencies among the different tenants and visitors. Given today’s desire to work from home in some capacity, such offerings should motivate employees to want to come to the office, even if only for a few days a week.

Many large companies chose to include such amenities and programming within their own space. That said, most small to medium sized companies do not have that luxury and therefore have been gravitating towards buildings that include these offerings in their own buildings or campuses. This idea of thoughtfully redistributing spaces and services throughout one commercial building is a strategy commonly used by the hospitality industry over the past decade. Hotels are known for combining destination services along with retail services, such as restaurants, coffee shops, and spa services. The transfer of this strategy to the commercial real estate world creates a workplace that is adaptable to the rise in hybrid work schedules that have been trending upward since 2020.

This activation of commercial space, and the reimagined use of amenities, will take time to fully develop into its full potential. What we can expect to see in 2023 are more buildings and workplaces repurposing their space, giving tenants a place to come together, build relationships, and continue to develop their careers. Those buildings and landlords that have already taken these forward thinking steps towards further activating their buildings, have been by far the most successful in luring new tenants over the past 12-18 months.

2. A Hybrid-Friendly Office Environment and the Rise of Coworking & Flexible Office Solutions

The future of work requires less commitment and fewer fixed costs, giving decision makers the ability to offer teams space where and whey they need it by adding new flexible options. Employers will accommodate various working styles and collaboration preferences.

The pandemic has showed that remote work is possible, and sometimes even preferrable. In 2023, and as discussed in Episode 6 of our Ciminelli Chats podcast (link out), we can expect to see all in-office and all remote work replaced with hybrid work schedules. Many businesses are no longer pressuring their employees to choose between one or the other, instead compromising with a middle-of-the-road hybrid option. This allows employees to maintain the focus and flexibility of remote work while allowing them a much-needed space to socialize and work alongside colleagues.

With this increase in hybrid work schedules, comes the evaluation of office space. Now that employees are performing many of their tasks that require a high level of concentration at home, they are expecting their offices to easily facilitate their need for productive collaboration and meetings at the office. This includes brainstorming spaces, collaboration areas, cafeterias, advanced meeting technology, open floor plans, tenant programming, and even game rooms.

The future of work, and the incorporation of the flexible integration model, requires less commitment and fewer fixed costs, giving decision makers the ability to offer teams space where and when they need it by adding new flexible options. Employers will accommodate various working styles and collaboration preferences.

Planning out collaborative office space to accommodate the new normal of hybrid work schedules will encourage productivity, enhance the connection between employees, and foster a place where innovative ideas can grow.

3. Sustainability Throughout the Workplace

As society becomes more aware of their impact on the environment, and with the rise of ESG reporting, commercial businesses are evaluating and implementing a variety of sustainable activities and office amenities. Companies are looking for ways to make their offices more sustainable day-to-day, including engaging their employees in environmentally friendly activities.

In 2023, we are going to see businesses further evaluate their company’s sustainability ranking and implement improvements throughout their office and through their service offerings. This may include the incorporation of electronic recycling programs, sustainable materials in office supplies and furniture, paper cut integration, energy-efficient lighting, a rise in Energy Star programs, and an increase in sustainability programming.

A secondary benefit of incorporating an eco-friendly approach to the workplace, is an appealing interior design with the incorporation of more organic textures and materials. It also presents the opportunity to bring employees together for recycling/donation events that are led by the community or their company. This increased focus on ESG has also proven to be increasingly important to the incoming younger generation and can play an important role for recruitment and retention.

Although the past few years have been full of uncontrollable disruptions to what was viewed as routine office life, these disruptions have also provided a learning opportunity to reimagine the workplace. The experience of working from home these last few years has equipped a majority of the workforce with tools needed to thrive in 2023 and beyond. We expect the workforce to continue to adjust accordingly, and these adjustments will continue to bring positive change to our cities, communities, and professional lives. So here’s to 2023, and the continuous improvement of our workplaces!

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