The workplace experience has undergone an unprecedented change in the last two years. And some real estate investors have been understandably worried. But there have been plenty of positive changes as a result of this transformation — and those changes are great for everyone.
It makes sense to fear the new — to wonder what you'll lose instead of what you stand to gain. But here's the unintuitive truth: the last two years have been good for offices.
Maybe that comes as a surprise. And yes, we may have to wait a little while before these benefits are truly felt. But the reality is, this unusual era has nudged us toward some substantial improvements. Technology and workplace culture have both taken strides that will help us put our best foot forward from here on out.
The workplace experience has changed
But don't be scared. As the old saying goes, "When one door closes, you can still gain access touchlessly with the Equiem app."
That's a joke, obviously, but there's truth in it. The recent obstacles have really been a fertile time for innovation. We've adapted with the times, and we know your sites have as well. Let's have a look at the ways we've all improved since 2019.
1. Technological advances
We were already on the verge of an office tech breakthrough. Workplaces across the world were experimenting with videoconferencing. Many companies had at least some remote workers in their workforce. The tech had already changed, but for the most part, we hadn't caught up.
The pandemic forced us all to catch up to the tech. We found ourselves getting used to the idea of video calls and remote work. Now, these tools form an integral part of every workplace's arsenal.
And on top of that, the tech has improved. Equiem alone offers a wealth of new features, designed to improve our new, tech-focused way of working. Sophisticated visitor management systems keep track on who enters your building. And don't worry about germs, because workers can now use our touchless access function to enter their workspaces.
Throw in new smart building capabilities, such as air quality monitoring, and you can see how far the tech side of community engagement apps have come in the past couple of years.
On top of that, we've introduced a range of functions designed to ease the complexity associated with the added flexibility we've all become accustomed to.
2. Flexibility — for people and companies
Flexibility has been loudly identified as one of the key advantages resulting from the pandemic. But don't make the mistake of thinking that flexibility only extends to workers.
Yes, the opportunity to work from home or the office at will has been a huge plus. But employers have also gained newfound flexibility. First of all, companies are now able to recruit from anywhere in the world. A fully remote-enabled workforce means it's possible to find the best global talent, rather than just restricting yourself to the local talent pool.
It's also possible to grow a business beyond the physical limits of the office place. In the old days, the size of your workforce was limited by the size of your workspace. But that's no longer the case. This added flexibility allows companies to grow at the rate that makes sense for their profitability, without necessarily adding extra square-footage straight away.
And that poses a couple of opportunities for commercial landlords.
3. Flex space has come to the fore
Just because some workers are remote-first doesn't mean they want to be remote all the time. In fact, as we've seen in our Global Office Tenant Report, a large proportion of workers want to work in the office at least once a week, and many want to come in two to three times a week.
This is a real opportunity for landlords. With more workers and workplaces opting for hybrid workstyles, there is a vacuum in the market. That vacuum? Available, easy-to-manage flex space. And if it's in the same building as the permanent office space... even better!
By offering flex space — as you can do easily with the Equiem tenant app — you can offer your tenants a valuable tool as they grow their workforce. Remote-first employees will still have access to an office space shared with their colleagues.
And, of course, as businesses grow and people begin spending more time in the office, many of these companies will eventually begin to invest in more permanent workspaces. Over the longterm, offering tenants flexible options can substantially increase the value of your investment.
4. The human factor
There's a positive side and a negative side to this one.
On the one hand, many workers are reporting that they feel the separation of home and work has unsettlingly diminished. That's one of the main reasons people are beginning to contemplate a return to the physical office.
On the other hand, we now know more about our colleagues than we did before. We've heard their children playing and seen their cats tails waving in and out of zoom conferences. This past couple of years has been humanising for everyone concerned.
And because of that, we've also grown more supportive of one another. Let's face it — we've all just weathered a crisis. And that's been an opportunity for us to focus on the most important part of life. Our wellbeing and mental health. The days of working through feverish flu sweats have come to an end. And the term "mental health day" has reached a greater acceptance than ever before.
This shared experience has cast 'the human factor' in sharp relief. And that's helped us understand what's truly important about the workplace.
5. We know what we value about the office
Most of us have been away from the office for a long time. And there's been an unexpected side effect of that absence.
We now understand what we value about the office.
The true value of the office is its ability to connect us with our coworkers. 73% of workers surveyed in our Global Tenant Report value the office as a place to connect with fellow employees. And 71% of workers believe that the office is the best space for collaboration. This comes as no great surprise. We've always known the purpose of the office is to foster collaboration. But now that we've all had some time away from it, we've begun to truly feel the difference. And workers everywhere have internalised the need for a physical space to connect and collaborate.
After two years, the benefits of the office are now infinitely clearer to the average worker. Today's worker is hungry for connection. And there's no better news than that.
That's why this is the perfect moment to remind your occupiers about what your building can offer them. Download our free Ultimate Welcome Back Playbook! It's brimming with engagement ideas and campaigns to encourage your people back to the office.
Ready to make the most of all the new opportunities? Equiem is the quickest way to modernise your business! Book a free demo today and discover a world of hidden strengths.