The Leader Magazine

DEC 2017

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4 5 3 3. Create a workplace that makes people healthier. According to a recent study, 34 percent of global businesses said low productivity due to stress and depression causes damage to their bottom lines. In the U.S., overweight workers and those with chronic health conditions contribute to more than $153 billion in lost productivity annually. To combat these trends, wellness is and will remain one of the hottest topics in workplace design. It's no stretch to say that employees will soon expect to be healthier when they leave the office than when they arrived; this will be thanks to access to high-quality air, natural light, water and healthy food choices, plus wellness programs rich with opportunities for exercise, health care services and social engagement. While a survey we conducted found that 85 percent of businesses ranked wellness at the top of all company initiatives due to employee demand and competition with peers, companies also reported struggling to quantify the benefits of wellness in the workplace and with where to focus their efforts. The trick to workplace wellness is to empower employees, who are, of course, ultimately responsible for their own health. For example, you can design a well-lit, attractive staircase that is more appealing than the elevator; provide high-quality, healthy choices in the cafeteria; and offer access to programs for assessing and managing chronic diseases. There is also plenty of room for technology to provide companies with insights and employees with motivation. In several of our own offices in Europe, Colliers launched a program where employees wear Fitbits and answer daily questions to assess exercise levels, stress levels, productivity and overall well-being. Employees then translate data-driven insights into decisions around how, where and when to work. By 2020, we expect that the importance of benchmarking built- environment performance to wellness standards will increase dramatically. Already, certifications like the WELL Building Standard are becoming significant in the way buildings attract and retain tenants. 4. i ngrain the co-working mentality in real estate strategy. By 2020, there will be 26,000 co-working locations worldwide. (For perspective, there are 24,000 Starbucks globally.) Initially, co-working was simply a term for the use of a shared workspace that businesses – many of them individual entrepreneurs or small startups – could use on flexible terms, working in proximity and often collaborating with one another. Today, co-working, or "flexible workspaces," are becoming just another way organizations can office their people. In fact, the pace of change and the inability for companies to forecast their needs cries out for an alternative to a five-year lease. Co-working spaces are the most logical option for housing employees in new markets and in volatile industries, and to accommodate rapid expansions and retractions. This new co-working model is applicable to a wide variety of businesses, including multinational companies. Large employers already make up the fastest-growing market for shared workspace provider WeWork; IBM recently signed a deal to shift 600 employees into an entire building in New York City, designed and managed by WeWork. Microsoft has also shifted 70 percent of its sales staff in New York City to flexible/co- working workspace. Building owners are also finding opportunities to revitalize underused spaces by transforming them into shared work areas where people are encouraged to connect and collaborate. Already, many occupiers won't consider a building without available flexible space. In the future, companies will also need to think more about accessing office space rather than owning or leasing it. This paradigm shift will require an evaluation of "core" and "flexible" space needs so that businesses can execute a real estate strategy that minimizes cost and maximizes opportunities. 5. e nable the agile organization. Most organizations have dedicated teams with certain expertise that work on specific products or services for clients. Due to changing client demands, a quickly shifting environment and evolving technologies, organizations are starting to rethink these structures by prioritizing collaboration between teams and breaking down silos. The "agile organization" is a term that's getting a lot of attention right now. Founded on the revolution in software development over the last 15 years, the agile methods are now being applied to other activities in the organization that require flexibility, vitality and collaboration. The 10th Annual State of Agile Report shows that over the past five years, the top three benefits of implementing an agile approach are: • An ability to manage changing priorities • Increased team productivity • Improved product visibility According to a study from McKinsey & Company, businesses that are deploying agile development at scale have accelerated their innovation by up to 80 percent. While there isn't a single way to create the agile work environment, there are several key differences between an agile and activity-based work environment. In terms of workplace design, the focus is not on facilitating individual workstyles and activities, but on facilitating multi-disciplinary teams. This means an employee is likely to spend most of their time next to direct team members and less time switching between different workspaces in the office. To boost collaboration between people with different areas of expertise and backgrounds, agile organizations must be able to bring people physically together to work. The so-called "stand-ups" and other types of in-person collaboration are key, which means that more people will come to the office and average occupancy rates will increase. Additionally, in agile working, formal planned meetings are replaced by short, effective "meeting moments" and continuous informal collaboration within teams. The workplace must be just as agile as the teams who work in it. The year 2020 isn't that far away and changes to the structure of the workplace are occurring rapidly. It is critical for organizations to make space and location decisions that create engaging and productive experiences for employees. That infuse your spaces with enabling, interactive technology. That drive employee wellness. That look for space solutions outside of the traditional lease/own model and provide flexible, agile environments that can adapt to the future as it arrives. 14 DECEMBER 2017 th E l E a DER F E A T U R E A R T I C L E Keith Perske is executive managing director of Workplace Innovation at Colliers International.

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