Hybrid working has become the go-to strategy in many organisations for the future of work. While it offers employees more flexibility and choice, it also presents a new set of challenges for corporate real estate and facilities management teams.
Adam McCarthy of MRI shares his thoughts on retaining talent, Space-as-a-Service and how PropTech is transforming the future office.
What are the biggest set of challenges corporate real estate and facilities management teams face with remote working?
Retaining talent whilst managing the increasing costs of running a real estate portfolio! Remote working is now the norm in some shape of form for most businesses, but there is a risk that employees have too much control and flexibility, making it difficult to forecast how much space to have, how to use it, and how much to spend on it. Research tells us that the employee experience has taken a higher priority over cost, but that cant continue forever. The battle that will play out makes for an exciting future and one thing is for certain, the employee of today has more control than ever before.
What happens if businesses do not support Hybrid working?
They will be paying for the same office footprint as before but as a result will have a workforce that is unmotivated and seeking a new challenge. Hybrid working allows firms to proactively ‘offer’ space as a competitive advantage. Those that refuse to accept the 9-5 model has changed may struggle to retain and grow or just have access to a smaller talent pool (who happen to like the static working pattern that is in place) . The solution isn’t a one size fits all, its ultimately a mechanism to demonstrate trust to individuals and use technology to pull everyone together towards a connected goal, which then drives a healthy culture.
How do we make Hybrid working more productive and engaging?
Speak to your employees! Happy employees are productive and if they are unable to demonstrate this following a hybrid model, then they were never engaged or committed to the role when being summoned to an office. Certain sectors will be better suited to 4 days in the office, whereas others may find that 2 days is more appropriate. Every business is learning as we move forward, I believe it is those that are bold that will find the ideal mix sooner and in the process be able to forecast more accurately. Free beer/wine and a ping pong table are useful catalysts to get people in the same building, but building an engaged workforce goes beyond this.
What will the future workweek look like?
Nobody can predict this with any great certainty. Sustainability will be front and centre as an unavoidable consideration and future generations are not going to become any more open to being blindly led into following a practice, they don’t believe in. Building a model where an employee feels they have a good work life balance and can still deliver success is a good start. Traditional lease models will continue to change and Space-as-a-Service (SaaS) models are likely to grow. Truly understanding how people behave in and use the space will allow companies to make informed decisions, the more real time this insight becomes to better position you are in!
Tell us a bit more about MRI and how you support Hybrid working
MRI Software is a leading provider of real estate software solutions that has allowed businesses around the world to transform their working patterns. MRI’s open and connected, AI-first platform empowers owners, operators, and occupiers in commercial and residential property organisations to innovate in rapidly changing markets. MRI has been a trailblazer in the PropTech industry for over five decades, serving more than two million users worldwide. Through innovative solutions and a rich partner ecosystem, MRI gives real estate companies the freedom to realise their vision of building thriving communities and stronger businesses.
Suzan Dixon, Head of Workplace Europe & Americas, Standard Chartered
Lamia Zaky, Global Head of CRE, Inmarsat
Gabriela Hersham, CEO Huckletree
David O’Sullivan, Head of Property & Occupier Services, GPE
Photo: Adam McCarthy | Enterprise Account Executive Occupier Solutions MRI Real Estate Software
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