Avison Young's commercial real estate blog
How workplace optionality is emerging as a leading recruitment and retention toolJuly 5, 2021
Recently BOS, a best in class Haworth dealer, invited me and my colleague Jillian Brown to join them for a Podcast - Flexible Office Solutions and Embracing Disruptive Forces. It was a great opportunity to discuss the current state of the flexible economy, gain a better understanding about the diversity of workplace products as well as innovative serviced offerings and technologies that will drive how companies attract, recruit and retain top talent, especially knowledge workers.
The word “work” historically has been a way to describe not only what we do but also where we do it. There are plenty of buzzwords surrounding future workplace strategy trends, including decentralization, hybrid, and others. In the future, leading companies will understand that employee productivity should be measured on the outputs of the what and not necessarily on the where. Portfolio management strategies will need to be driven by the specific needs of an individual or their team, whether that be the central office, a satellite office, a coworking or serviced office location, a coffee shop and/or the home. Think of it this way: a workplace that optimizes talent is one that exists in more than one location.
Early feedback from major occupiers of commercial space suggests that 80 percent of them plan to enable this arrangement to one degree or another. To make this model work both efficiently and effectively will require greater flexibility not only in workplace policies, but also in how companies access and manage their portfolios of space.
There is strong evidence that not all workers are equally successful working remotely, even with support. Thus, the central headquarters or regional hubs, secured on a long-term lease, is unlikely to go away. Instead, it needs rethinking to support office centric workers while also reimagining how it can support hybrid workers. It is not a binary decision. Centralized office, remote work and work from home can be complementary or supplemented through strategic adoption of options available within the evolving flexible office economy.
Workplace optionality will emerge as one of the leading recruitment and retention tools for the future. If the workplace is truly about talent, then these changes should not be challenged but strategically adopted by both the occupier and ownership community. Those who embrace these changes will be primed for success. For those who revert to the status quo, I’d ask you to consider that while growth is optional, change is inevitable.
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