How will the workplaces of the future impact the real estate industry?
Peter Gilmour, chief foreign correspondent
Over the next decade, workplaces are likely to change from drab, formal, functional designs to those geared to the needs of the employees containing a diverse mix of spaces, furniture, décor and services. There will be a strong move to flexibility in the workplace design and co-working platforms with a range of memberships to suit the needs of growing businesses, says Ron Friedman, organizational psychologist and author of “The Best Places to Work.” In researching his book, he analyzed thousands of academic studies to understand conditions that help people work more effectively.
The recent update to the REAL Trends Brokerage Benchmark report shows that, on average, the retained company dollar that brokers are keeping is dropping. Being tied to long leases for space that you may outgrow or that may be too large, has always been a problem and comprises a major expense to real estate offices.
Co-working community spaces are mushrooming all over the world and combine flexibility with creative eco-friendly elements such as green roofs to reduce energy use, solar power and windows that allow views and exposure to sunlight—all make for happier workers. One element that is constant in all countries is speed and consistency of internet supply as this is the driver of most businesses.
In Australia, one such co-working space, called The Hub, has locations in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, and offers common facilities such as high-speed fiber optics, excellent kitchens, jump-in phone booths, bookable meeting rooms and more. Spaces range from single desks to shared offices, to private offices and suites, and membership is flexible from month-to-month arrangements to longer periods of occupation.
In Cape Town, South Africa, The Bureaux has been in existence for five years with multiple locations and offers a range of modern spaces with strong networking between tenants. Most locations are close to residential areas, provide convenience and promote work-life balance.
Spaces Close to Home
In the United States, many co-working operations are small with less than 20 locations. The industry is led by Regus with locations in over 475 cities in the U.S. and globally. We Work has spaces in 19 cities as well as internationally, and there are others such as Proximity Space in Colorado, The Yard in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington D.C., and NextSpace with locations in California and Chicago.
In some countries, real estate agents and teams are choosing these spaces rather than go to the home office as the added networking benefits assist them in controlling their costs and meeting the needs of their team members. Millennials and younger entrepreneurs are driving change in all industries and promoting the co-working concept in the workplaces of the future around the world.