Change is in the air for workplace trends and it’s coming faster than you think. Are you ready?

Bisnow recently held a Workplace of the Future panels in New York and Seattle, where CEO Tom Paladino and Western Regional Director Dina Belon, shared their vision for the east and west coast trends. Here are the six biggest trends defining the workplace of the future.

  1. Immersion: reality vs. virtual reality: The workplace design process of the future is bound to be more immersive and democratic. Tenants are becoming more involved stakeholders in the development process and are starting to be a larger player in the design of the space. Real estate brokers are already using virtual reality (VR) to entice clients with immersive and visually compelling experiences. With technology’s ubiquitous pace and growth, owners are able to actually visualize and experience the design before it gets constructed, which will completely shift the design process.vr
  2. Tenants say, “Make me stay!”: The HR mission is moving toward talent retention. Workplace design priorities are shifting from sheer size of space to amenities, convenience of location, and new ideas in workplace design. The iconic industrial giant, General Electric, is trading its longtime rural Connecticut location for urban Boston – and changing its employee experience vision along the way. The move is all about attracting and retaining the top talent who want an urban location with access to everything the city offers. Similarly, Cadillac is moving to a trendy Manhattan SoHo location in an effort to reinvigorate its image and attract new buyers. To appeal to luxury consumers and tech innovators, the new space will include an art gallery, pop-up retail and design stores, coffee shop, and complimentary wifi, but no car dealership.
  3. Millennials still want amenities: Millennials, the biggest workplace generation of today, value choice and time over everything else, and are sensitive to experience. A research study by PWC showed that millennials rated access to cutting edge technology as the essential on site amenity. Employees who are happy with their workplace are twice as satisfied with their jobs and motivated to come in to work. A good workplace is now measured by its ability to deliver an enjoyable experience and provide flexibility for individuals. Offices now balance open space and privacy – diversity in design, and access to collaboration spaces as desired. The new age workstyle is about congregating with people, growth through collaboration, and the “aha” moment of connection.
  4. Wellness is a clear winner: People spend most of their waking hours in the workplace. With the limited time available for the engagement that millennials want, landlords and employers can provide the in-demand amenities through active and wellness zones. Corporations are measuring productivity  to justify returns on investments in health and wellness. A Harvard study shows that fresh air is related to a geometric increase in cognitive thinking. For a knowledge services industry, this is a huge boost in business value. Wellness is more than just physical activity –  the social community aspect also helps team integration.
  5. Shared space brings everyone together: The real estate market is moving away from a fixed, closed model, to shared spaces and amenities. Landlords are building shared floors in office buildings that have expansive amenities and bring diverse tenants together. Commercial real estate design is taking cues from other industries to differentiate themselves. The Google office in Manhattan comes with a Four Seasons hospitality experience to heighten the impact of the space. Tenants are looking more and more toward a shared consumption model where they get access to better amenities and can share the costs with multiple users. Landlords have to consider themselves service providers and build an experience that is a unique attraction.
  6. Shared economy is king: Uber’s market capitalization is already bigger than General Motors and WeWork’s is approaching $20 billion – similar to one of the largest property companies, Boston Properties. Clearly, these are not just disruptions anymore, the business model is shifting to a shared economy and real estate is not far behind. The largest Fortune 100 companies want to try out spaces similar to We Work for their innovation teams. With the average life expectancy of a company at 7.2 years, the demand for 10-15 year leases is dying. Convene predicts that more and more office leases will be getting shorter than the conventional 10-15 year leases to potentially less than three years. Companies like We Work are going to take on long-term leases and shift responsibility and risk from tenants.

Are you spotting these trends in the real estate market? What are you doing in your own space to attract talent and inspire innovation? Let us know in the comments.


Divya Natarajan, LEED AP ID+C, WELL AP, is a Senior Project Manager for Paladino DC.

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