The future of work (and workplace) is here

April 19, 2017 / By  

“The future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed.” This quote from cyberpunk novelist, William Gibson, sums up the idea that the diffusion of innovation and technology is not spread out evenly. There are early adopters, and there are laggards.

This concept also applies to the disruption we’re seeing in corporate real estate (CRE) at the moment. The casual observer may be hard-pressed to find smart buildings lining the sidewalks, or Google-esque workplaces in our own offices – and hence view these concepts as completely theoretical abstractions in futurists’ fancy dreamscapes.

However, we need to be cognizant that the initial stage of exponential growth is deceptive by nature (Fig.1).

Figure 1 - Deceptive disruption

This is the age of “accelerating disruptions”, in which the world around us is no longer transforming linearly, or predictably – but at an exponential rate of change. Think fast – real fast, surprisingly fast.

The bottom-line is this – action needs to be taken today to fully engage with the forces of change in the world of work.  Those who don’t, will be left behind.

This holds true for the CRE space as well. Organizations need to rapidly evolve in tandem with the changing workforce (Fig. 2) and the explosion of the Internet of Things (Fig. 3). These trends impact all facets of real estate – encompassing portfolio, facility, project and lease management, as well as workplace design.

Figure 2 - Changing workforce demographics
Figure 3 - Growth of the IoT

The question here is – are you ready for the future of work?

To help companies harness this wave of transformation and disruption, JLL has created a framework (Fig. 4) showing how we envisage the changing world of work and its impact on next-gen CRE in our Future of Work paper.
Figure 4 - Future of Work framework

We also discuss the reactive, active and proactive modes of engaging with each of the five dimensions in the framework. Every organization’s priorities and approach will vary, and evolve over time.

To benchmark against the “gold standard” of proactive CRE future-proofing, have a look at our recommended metrics below:

  • Human Experience – Use workplace as a competitive advantage to gain passionate, top talent who serve as loyal ambassadors of its company culture and brand
  • Digital Drive – Harvest predictive, artificial intelligence to inform complex decision making
  • Continuous Innovation – Drive a comprehensive innovation strategy supported by a disciplined platform to harness disruption and promote hyper-collaboration in and outside the organization
  • Operational Excellence – Use IT + HR + CRE to harness cutting edge, predictive technologies to gain greater transparency, anticipate outcomes and mitigate risks before they arise
  • Financial Performance – Employ real estate as a growth lever, not just a cost lever, and a human-centered workplace as a competitive differentiator to drive high performance, productivity and experience

The future of work (and the workplace) is already here; are you ready to embrace it?

For more insight into how the CRE function can engage with drivers of change, take a look at our paper exploring the “Future of Work”, and also read our “Offices 2020” report mapping out the future of the Asia Pacific office landscape.

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