5 Considerations for Building the Workplace of the Future

October 2021
T3 Advisors

What’s the future of the workplace?

As corporate leaders navigate today’s uncertainties and look toward the future, many workplace decisions are up in the air. Many companies struggle to visualize the new type of hybrid work that will encompass in-person, remote options, and everything in between.

So what should companies do? Follow the headlines of the Big Five adopting remote and hybrid models? Jump into real estate decisions while the rent is cheap and requires less commitment? 

The (often deceiving) headlines and cheaper rent aren’t likely to provide a one-size-fits-all solution. That’s why it’s essential to build a strategic workplace plan around your company’s unique needs and ambitions. Of course, doing the initial legwork can be difficult. 

The good news: you likely already have much of the in-house data necessary to establish that long-term plan. 

Here are our 5 suggestions to help you get started on using your data to tackle workplace and real estate challenges of the future.

Start with the Big Picture 

Your internal data contains a lot of insight into the future. Take a look at HR records, backed by performance reports and 1-on-1 employee conversations, to establish the current state of your company and imagine the North Star for your company. This information will create a foundation for what drives your employees to collaborate, connect, and be productive in their workplace. 

Questions to Ask 

What workplace culture are you striving for? Do your real estate options support that objective? 

Are cost savings your #1 driver for workplace decisions? What are the consequences of that plan? 

Do you prefer that customer geography drives the location of the new office or even HQ, or does employee talent drive that decision?

Consider Your Past Workplace Challenges 

Of course, the pandemic has radically changed the way we work. However, last year’s cultural and logistical office challenges have not gone away. And while some elements of the new way to work will remain in the future — many will not. We can learn a lot from the past to determine the future of the workplace. It’s time to ask the hard questions to determine what has worked previously and what should be eliminated in the future. 

Questions to Ask

Did your workforce productivity or culture work well before the pandemic? What didn’t work?

Did the previous office space enable your teams to collaborate, connect, and succeed together? 

How will you balance old benefits like free lunch, massages, and a pool table for employees that now choose to work from home?

Account for Current Struggles of Working from Home 

The pathway of “going fully remote” is not right for all companies. Your employees have worked in private home offices, in spaces like WeWork, or at kitchen tables and in living rooms bustling with children. It’s not safe to assume that just because employees made it okay for now that they’ll be happy to carry on the same way into the future. 

Questions to Ask

 Do all employees have an adequate in-home office where they can do their best work? 

Are your employees burnt out and not taking time off? 

Has performance dwindled or improved in the past year? Can you compare that with PTO trends? 

Have employees moved away from their primary location, increasing or decreasing their costs of living?

Establish a Plan Based on Your People 

The ideal workplace environment for your company is based on your people’s needs. A compelling workplace environment, one that will drive your recruitment and retention efforts, starts with establishing your values and way of work. 

Once you have a value-based plan in place, you’ll easily be able to find the right-fit candidates as your company grows. 

Questions to Ask

Have you assigned a dedicated leader, such as a Head of Remote or Head of Workplace Experience for strategic workplace efforts? 

Are your people managers prepared to provide guidance and feedback? 

Based on your internal data, what is the best criteria to use to create the next iteration of your workplace?

Find a Strategic Partner for the Future of Work 

Many real estate consultants can help you find and lease an impressive space for your teams. But will that new workplace propel your business toward innovation? If your specialist’s real estate approach ends at the dotted line and fails to establish a long-term strategic plan, then the answer is likely no.

Answering strategic questions will require real expert help. The right estate expert has the experience, expertise, and connections to cater to your short- and long-term goals. 

A dedicated team member with a world-class strategic real estate plan will allow your company to scale with confidence, plus manage decisions around: 

  • Return to Office 
  • Support Remote Work Enablement
  •  Workplace Strategy 
  • Employee Satisfaction 
  • Change Management
  • Culture, Design & Branding 
  • Real Estate Strategy 
  • Global HQ Expansions & Relocations 
  • Construction and Project Management 
  • Laboratory Space Design

2021 Trends in Commercial Real Estate 

As of June 2021, 59% of companies studied  have announced a permanent adoption of models to allow for greater remote work.

Remote job postings increased from 8% of total positions to 21% over the last ten months.

Companies that have announced a change to more remote work generally fall into 4 categories:

  • Hybrid/Flex
  • Remote Optional
  • Remote First
  • Full Remote

According to T3 Advisors’ Return to Office and Remote Work Trends studies, analyzing various tech companies, we found the following:

  • Many tech companies have implemented clear, gradual return to office phases.
  • On returning to office, most companies have defined the capacity levels, COVID-19 protocols and social distancing measures and requirements for who is allowed back at each stage.
  • A majority of company “new normals” depend on the continued vaccine rollout.
  • Companies grapple with the issue of implementing a vaccine policy for employees.
  • Many companies not requiring vaccinations are strongly encouraging employees, and even incentivizing them, to get vaccinated.

Connect with Experts on the Future of Work

Creating a workplace that promotes collaboration, connection, and productivity can be difficult. However, recruiting the right experts to your in-house strategy team can solve many challenges now and in the future. Are you ready to drive workplace initiatives of the future with an expert by your side?