According to a recent survey, a growing focus on user experience is driving the adoption of new real estate technology, increasing use of flexible space and the popularity of wellness programmes. We’ve pulled together seven of the key findings from the 2018 CBRE EMEA Occupier Survey ‘Optimising user experience: the personalised workplace’:
1. The growth of flexible office space
Meanwhile, occupiers are increasingly making use of flexible work spaces such as business incubators and accelerators, innovation centres and co-working spaces; the proportion of those whose use of flexible space is moderate to substantial is expected to rise from 30% now to 45% in three years’ time. The reasons for using these spaces are evolving, too; while cost savings and the need for short-term solutions are still important, the two reasons to have increased in importance since last year’s survey are ‘promoting innovation’ and ‘attracting and retaining talent’.
“There is a growing expectation that space is provided as a service which enhances user experience, productivity and well-being and forms part of a more dynamic workplace solution”
2. Wellness rises up the agenda…
With the increasing focus on talent and productivity, wellness is becoming a central pillar of corporate real estate strategy. In this year’s survey, 80% of companies say they have, or plan to introduce, wellness programmes, compared with 71% last year.
3. … and affects the choice of building
This also means that companies are looking for buildings that are suited to these needs; 92% expressed some kind of preference for buildings that are capable of supporting wellness initiatives. Moreover, 45% (up from 33% in 2017) say they either have a strong preference for wellness provision in their building, or that it fundamentally sways their decision on what building to lease.
4. New services
Another aspect of the growing emphasis on the people who use office buildings is a recognition that landlords and occupiers will need to offer new services in future to keep employees happy. Top of the list is collaboration/social spaces (named by 74%), followed by enhanced front-of-house services (51%) and a range of employee services, such as dry cleaning and parcel delivery (48%).
5. Investment in technology
New real estate technologies are emerging all the time, and 69% of the companies surveyed say they expect technology innovations to have a high or very high impact on their business. So it’s not surprising that 62% plan to increase their investment in real estate technology over the next three years, and 40% say they will do this in the next year.
6. From efficiency to experience
The kind of technology companies are investing in is changing, however. In the past, the focus has mainly been on using it to maximise energy efficiency or improve facilities management. Now occupiers are looking at technologies that enhance the user experience for employees and visitors, and thus improve productivity. The most popular are way-finding apps for end users (named by 63%), external, connected sensors (47%) and virtual and augmented reality (43%).
7. New job roles
To support this drive towards the use of technology to produce a better user experience, companies recognise that they will need to create new job roles: 47% of those surveyed said they plan to hire data scientists, 46% digital transformation officers and 38% user experience leads.
Recipe for success
The report concludes that “there is a growing expectation that space is provided as a service which enhances user experience, productivity and well-being and forms part of a more dynamic workplace solution”. And it suggests that the organisations, and buildings, that will be successful in future will be those that offer:
- High levels of organisational responsiveness
- An increasingly personalised workplace offering, tailored to user preferences.
- Smart, integrated analytics
- Detailed utilisation metrics and predictive capacity
- Deployment of building data in support of staff wellbeing
*A version of this article was published on The Office Agenda