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A seismic shift in the way we work: Attention turns to the future of office buildings

A seismic shift in the way we work: Attention turns to the future of office buildings

With employees demanding radical flexibility employers will need to meet their demands or risk losing them.

The Quorum, Gurgaon The Quorum, Gurgaon

Historically, the workplace has always been the most important asset to attract talent, increase collaboration and innovation. As a result, the last decade has seen a growing emphasis on quality amenities provided by buildings, allowing people to incorporate other parts of their lifestyle into their work routines and creating opportunities for socializing and work in areas beyond the 'traditional office'.

The top commercial landlords around the world have understood the economic benefit of offering amenity-rich and experiential spaces as part of the building infrastructure. The pandemic and its enforcement of a hybrid workstyle has accelerated this trend. We're now witnessing a structural shift in the way people around the world are choosing to work. 

Many professionals have spent the last two years establishing new priorities and expectations around workplace flexibility. Employers need to be responsive to this evolution of what constitutes a workplace - especially in industries where there's a talent shortage and high demand for quality people. With employees demanding radical flexibility employers will need to meet their demands or risk losing them.

This demand for remote work and flexible lifestyles is shifting the traditional workplace paradigm. The kind of quiet, internally focused work can now be done away from the office, leading to an increase in working-from-home. It decreases the need for fixed desk space in an office, and more space can be given over for collaborative areas where colleagues can interact and engage in shared experiences. Studies have shown that frequent in-person interactions lead to commitment, support and cooperation among people and teams. Technology is unlikely to replace that.  

As a result, the office is set to become a culture space, providing workers with a social anchor, facilitating conversations, enabling learning, and fostering unscripted, innovative collaboration -  a clubhouse rather than a workplace.

The burden, however, doesn't lie solely with the occupiers. Office landlords too, need to adapt to this changing landscape and provide physical solutions that support this inevitable trend. Increasingly, the consensus is that workspaces will become less distinct from our homes and hotels. The world of hospitality and offices will be more integrated than ever. With this evolution, companies will want less space but better space. 

It is a seismic shift in thinking and will result in new ways in which organizations & office landlords will need to approach providing an appropriate workplace solution. 

Global trends suggest that many tenants are willing to pay more to be in buildings that help them recruit and retain talent, and amenities that make their employees happy. Integrating hospitality, collaboration spaces, and culturally relevant extra-curricular activities into their work routine will make for a more well-rounded and attractive work environment.

2022 will mark the beginning of a massive trend to reposition and repurpose office buildings as we know them. As always, those who are nimble and able to adapt, will emerge as winners.

Author - Vivek Narain
Founder & CEO, The Quorum