How can your real estate help you win the “work from anywhere” war for talent in a post-COVID-19 world?
- How can companies enhance the employee experience with the real estate they need?
- Flexibility is now a key factor in talent strategies and needs to be used as a tool for enhancing the work employees do.
- The right balance of where and when to work is a shifting priority as workplace preferences become increasingly fractured both across and within generations. Companies need to understand employee preferences at a granular level and respond accordingly.
- Amenities at home, in the office and around flexibility are top of mind. On-site amenities need to focus on technology and environments that promote innovation and collaboration.
Businesses have shifted gear from safety to a focus on the longer-term changes to working practices as a result of the extended impact of COVID-19. As companies evaluate new strategies in more detail, the challenge being posed to corporate real estate (CRE) teams has evolved; early in the pandemic the question was primarily “do we need the real estate we currently have?” Today, the conversation is more “how do we enhance the employee experience with the real estate we need?”
Employers are evaluating new strategies to adapt to more flexible ways of working. They are re-thinking their approaches to hiring, policies on where and how work gets done, the workplace experience and technology.
Employees, meanwhile, are actioning change, choosing to work new schedules and in new locations, in anticipation of opportunities for greater flexibility.
A complex and evolving work environment poses a unique set of challenges to CRE teams. Alongside their many responsibilities, they are now being charged with helping businesses reimagine their physical space needs, optimize the workplace experience, facilitate a real estate digital transformation and action the required change in a way that manages cost.
Understanding how to enhance the employee experience of the future is a critical step in the CRE planning journey. Surveying existing staff is an important activity, but attracting the best talent requires a broader understanding of the wider marketplace. A recent EY survey of 16,000 people across 16 countries (50% US) helps do exactly this. Our survey results demonstrate the ongoing importance of the workplace to organizations, and highlight three CRE-focused findings that will help address these challenges:
- Commercial real estate owners and operators must recognize differing workplace flexibility needs among generations and respond accordingly.
- The right balance of where and when to work is a shifting priority.
- Commercial real estate amenities and the employee experience will take on a new role in talent attraction and retention.
The survey results provide a valuable snapshot into work location preferences. Sixty-two percent of respondents have a clear preference for how they work in the future, while 38% remain undecided. Those with a clear preference favor a primarily work from anywhere model, i.e., “Remote Ready.” However, 45% of those that are undecided expect to work primarily in the office, i.e., “Office Optimized.”