Jan Kemeling, Chief Commercial Officer at Gooee, explains why organizations should embrace change & new technologies faster, to enhance working spaces & adapt quickly to provide alternative office environments in which people want to work & are the most productive.
Fast-Changing Connected World
Whether we all perceive the smartphone at as great progress or not, it has connected us. It has given us the ability to communicate, work and live in a more efficient way and created plenty of business opportunities for many.
Smartphones have probably disrupted more lives and livelihoods than we would have expected upon its arrival barely ten years ago. And now that disruption is going to be accelerated because not only are people connected to the internet but there are many objects surrounding us in our daily lives that will soon communicate permanently through the internet and interface with us via cloud-based applications.
Employees find themselves more productive when they can choose their work hours and value saving many hours a week by not having to always commute.
Millennials are starting to account for a large portion of the workforce
In 2016 CBRE performed a study in over 12 countries among 13.000 millennials between 22 and 29 years old which resulted in some interesting findings:
- 49% of them live with their parents
- 64% of respondents are renting homes
- 12% have no plans to leave the family home
- 56% of them think that work and leisure should be separate
- On average, they said to go out about 10 times a month for dinner or events
- 50% of their disposable income is spent on leisure, going out & non-food purchases
Millennials, who grew up with digital technology, are increasingly becoming a major part of our workforce. Companies are starting to appreciate that this generation lives with different desires, goals and dreams. They live, work and play quite differently from every previous generation. They are better educated, more tech-savvy and more culturally diverse.
It was found that millennials find it more cost-effective to rent and don’t want to commit to home ownership. Renting gives them short-term convenience, more choice and greater flexibility. And many of them found it easier to share a rented home with others:
- 78% see workplace quality as an important reason when choosing an employer
- 50-60% are not prepared to commute more than 30 mins to work
- 36% would like to have wellness facilities in their office
- Most of them want to work in a cool open plan office
Telecommuting & Flex-working
For nearly a decade, the ability to work flexibly has, and continues to, shape the modern workplace. Flexible working is becoming increasingly common in the UK, with more than 75% percent of employees working in organizations that provide some kind of flexible working, according to “The Flex Factor report”. Recent surveys reveal that “flexible hours” is at the top of the list when it comes to workers’ expectations from employers in the new connected world.
Contrary to what many would assume, flexible working arrangements can create many employer benefits. Studies estimate, that in the UK alone, flexible working generates approximately £7 billion of productive hours and delivers £1.1 billion in workstation cost savings for the UK economy. Employees find themselves more productive when they can choose their work hours and like the fact that they are saving many hours a week by not (always) having to commute.
Changing ways of working requires new office environments
Obviously, this all has a serious impact on the office environment. The office as we know it is likely to disappear. The new generation no longer wants to work from old-style offices with cubicles and gypsum ceiling tiles. They actually do not even want to work from the same place every day.
Employees move to different types of spaces depending on the type of work they’re doing.
Flexible working practices have gone hand-in-hand with the increasing popularity of open-plan offices where employees often hot-desk or work in Wi-Fi-enabled social spaces within the building. Employees move to different types of spaces depending on the type of work they’re doing. Offices are mostly open-plan, but also include quiet rooms, team rooms, breakout spaces, video conference rooms and quick-meet areas so there is a balance between collaborative spaces and quiet zones for more focused activities.
Although offices are definitely still serving a purpose, conducting business can now be achieved in other ways, with spaces created that we would not necessarily associate with or perceive as an office. The role of the physical space is becoming more flexible.
Cloud computing and high-speed internet infrastructures are now available to most employees, with remote employees having access to the same information as those on site. Employees love it when they only need to come to their office if they really have to physically be there.
Modern offices need to meet in the middle of the traditional & remote workplaces.
Research shows that 20-30% of the global workforce already telecommute. And the same research shows that two-thirds of all employees are willing to earn a lower income in exchange for the ability to work from home
Modern offices need to meet in the middle of the traditional and remote workplaces. The office of the future needs to cultivate an environment where today’s employees want to spend time. Designed to create appealing spaces where people feel well, where they can work together, socialize, and at the same time be productive and efficient.
Changing accounting rules in the US driving companies to optimize their office spaces
Last year, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued new lease standards that will impact every business that rents space. It will take effect on December 15th, 2018 (for public companies) and Dec 15, 2019 (for privately held companies). Leases longer than 12 months will need to be listed on the lessee’s balance sheet as both an asset and a liability.
Most of the offices are under-utilized by between 25-30% and many companies are unaware about how & when their employees are using office spaces.
Bottom line, when you start a business (especially a small business with a brick-and-mortar storefront), loans are typically involved. With this change in the FASB rules, rent obligations will no longer be considered an expense reported off the balance sheet. As a result, more companies will struggle to build credit since debt ratios will appear inflated.
This will force companies to optimize their office space. Most of the offices are under-utilized by between 25-30% and many companies have no idea how and when their employees are using their offices. Imagine the cost savings involved when ditching all obsolete office space. It’s time to start looking into space utilization analytics.
Technology will give companies much deeper insight into their building activity
Companies have no idea how much space is wasted and what it’s actually costing them. The average company uses barely 60% of their meeting room capacity. In the average flex-desking zone, more than 51% of the desks are unoccupied at any time. Restrooms are, for instance, being cleaned once an hour whereas nobody might have used them in the past 3 hours. Companies also have no idea how, where and when employees are moving around their office buildings, where heavy traffic or footfall is, when and why?
Through the use of smart connected sensors, beacons, Wi-Fi-data and PC activity, presence data can be collected and sent to the cloud for data analytics. This will boost efficiency and productivity as it will help employees find their way around (to a conference room, for example) or find each other or an object/asset that they are looking for (projector, copying machine, coffee machine, etc.).
Presence and activity data will feed into a cloud where it is analyzed for the purpose of delivering space optimization suggestions. For instance, the data may reveal moving a team from one floor to another for better collaboration would be more economical, or swapping desks for quiet zones or meeting rooms if they are not being used optimally. The result of these changes is likely to be a boost in employee productivity and wellbeing, reduction on space leading to lower rental costs and better use of space where and whenever it is needed. All this will continue to be in line with particular working activity requirements.
In the coming years, IoT technology will help companies optimize their processes, determine energy usage, review the way space and assets are utilized, and determine what space is needed where and for what hours of the week. Ultimately this will all result in improved bottom lines, happier employees and much more pleasant, efficient and convenient buildings to work in.
Sources: CBRE, AON UK, Crown Relocations Worldwide, Le Raconteur, Condeco,Serraview, Forbes, Mashable