In a recent study by CBRE, it is found that “advances in technology are breaking the traditional expectations on location, and placing employee experience at the centre of major real estate decisions across the region.”
- Location is no longer everything: Location has long served as a primary determinant of where business is conducted, but technological innovation and availability of human capital are changing locational preferences.
- Technology puts people at the centre of the workplace: The move towards a tech-enabled workplace is driving a stronger emphasis on improving the end-user experience. More than half of occupier respondents want a more customised workplace environment that adapts to the needs of their people.
- Mobility is rewriting office demand: As mobile working takes hold across Asia Pacific, companies will create office environments that improve staff satisfaction and comfort. The user experience will influence real estate strategies, and technology will enable employees to customise their working location, allowing them greater flexibility in choosing, how, when and where to work. Based on CBRE research, corporates will increase headcount in IT professionals and outsourcing/offshoring, whereas a net decline is expected in the back office function.
- Landlords are the enablers of change: Occupiers are the activist in changing the workplace environment. Landlords must partner more closely with tenants when developing smart buildings, engaging with tenants at the planning stage to ascertain the features and technology they require. Incorporating technology in new buildings will be relatively straightforward, but retrofitting older properties will be more challenging.
- Mobility as reality: 85% of respondents expect to see an increase in mobility in their future workforce via workplace formats such as Activity-based Working or AGILE Workplaces.
- IT rising: IT headcounts will increase, and more multinationals are likely to use co-working spaces and incubation centres to improve their access to IT talent and innovative ideas.
- Internet of Things (IoT) gap: Most landlord respondents (84%) believe that technological innovation will drive stronger demand for smart buildings. In comparison, just 56% of occupier respondents indicated the same, reflecting the fact that tenants retain the view that smart-buildings are nice to have but not essential.
“The transitional role of technology in commercial real estate will continue to enhance and influence an evolving employee experience across Asia Pacific. While location will remain important, the changing order of real estate will require buildings and workspaces to be far more flexible and adaptable than before,” says Steve Swerdlow, Chief Executive Officer, CBRE Asia Pacific.
“Technology is enabling a more mobile workforce and requiring companies to build more agility into their headcount planning. As better space utilization, and weaker front and back office headcount growth will reduce overall demand for office space, landlords must act now to ensure they remain competitive. In time, they will emerge as the real catalyst for meaningful change,” says Dr Henry Chin, Head of Research, CBRE Asia Pacific.