Tech’s Role in the Future of Work
The verdict is in: hybrid work is here to stay. According to JLL’s research report Technology and innovation in the hybrid age, the percentage of employers offering some form of hybrid work option has doubled from 45% pre-pandemic to 89% today. Office-based employees are embracing this flexibility, with over half choosing to go hybrid. Despite hybrid’s massive growth in popularity, adoption of enabling technology is lagging. The report reveals that, on average, companies are only using four of 15 core technologies that underpin the hybrid work transformation. So, what are the implications for the office? And what tech can help owners and occupiers navigate this transition? Let’s dive in!
Portfolio: Rethinking and optimizing footprint
Both owners and occupiers recognize that their real estate footprints and workspaces need to adapt to the evolving needs of their workforce. Technology plays a critical role in answering key questions like “How much space do we really need?” and “How should we optimize layouts for new working patterns?” Granular understanding of space utilization provided by occupancy solutions like VergeSense, has become a must in the decision-making process. Once understood, Saltmine, for example, helps enterprises seamlessly plan, design, and optimize their workplaces.
Workforce: Setting teams up for success
Due to the adoption of the hub and spoke model, enterprises seek to offer their staff a seamless experience when booking a desk or a meeting room at the office or at a coworking space at any given time. Flex on-demand platforms are solving this globally for companies of all sizes while providing reporting that fuels the portfolio optimization strategy.
Communication is another domain that needs to be reimagined in a hybrid world. Employers are seeking remedies for Zoom fatigue by turning to “next generation” in-office solutions. Both telecom incumbents and startups are offering more immersive experiences designed to mirror in-person interaction and improve remote teams’ ability to collaborate.
Workplace: Improving UX to draw tenants and employees back to the office
Employees are now benchmarking working from home and at the office, in the same way as they do for a physical store and an online marketplace when shopping. Technology can help owners to better understand their tenants’ needs and then improve the attractiveness of their office space. The tenant experience platform HqO is doing just that by providing a direct link to any employee, as well as facilitating access to the most desired amenities and services of the building.
Equally, well-being related services are also in the spotlight. Period products are typically an afterthought in workplace restrooms, much to the dismay of almost half of the workforce, but Aunt Flow is on a mission to change that. It helps occupiers foster a more welcoming, inclusive workplace by providing free vend, environmentally friendly, menstrual care.
Sustainability and the future of work are two themes within JLL Spark’s investment strategy that will drive much of the technology adoption in the real estate industry in the coming years. Fueled by constant insights from our clients and Work Dynamics teams and further reinforced by this recent report, JLL Spark is looking across the globe at innovative technology companies to help owners and occupiers with navigating and adapting to a still evolving new normal.
Written by Kitty Sullivan and Tanguy Quero, investment principals
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