Flying cars, smart homes and grocery-buying robots – these maybe some of the images that come to your mind when you think of life in the future, right? It is truly an astounding yet realistic build-up if the level of innovation we are experiencing today is a prediction of what life will be fast-forward. Alongside transportation and communication and travel, one area that is also revolutionizing itself towards a smart future is the employment and the commercial property sector.
“We are living through a fundamental transformation in the way we work. Automation and ‘thinking machines’ are replacing human tasks and jobs and changing the skills that organisations are looking for in their people. These momentous changes raise huge organisational, talent and HR challenges.” PwC Study – The Competing Forces Shaping 2030
With the rapid advancement of technology coupled with the demands of a multi-generational workforce, a revolution in the workplace has already started that has resulted in a pivotal change of the work ecosystem.
Governments are already shifting into the “smart city” option, hiring talents regardless of location. Punching in to work at 9:00 am is no longer a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) regarding an individual’s productivity in an organisation. A “borderless” work space is becoming the norm – anybody can get the job done working from a coworking space or a shared office facility anywhere in the world.
Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Robotics, and other technologies are exciting areas that are attracting increased R&D investment as they are predicted to be a valuable part of the future workforce. Some universities are already teaming up with coworking providers to enhance their learning environment and nurture their community’s creativity while governments, big corporations and SMEs are already changing the way they work leaning towards contractual or project-based employment.
Property developers are not only initiating changes within the commercial office sector but they are also starting to combine the same “shared economy” concept by offering “co-living” within their spaces. Interestingly, as the work and home life becomes more integrated and as being physically present at work becomes less of a requirement, the concept of co-living is becoming more popular as developers aim to provide more valuable “all-in-one-services” within their spaces. This could be as simple as sleeping pods and R&R break out areas to full scale living quarters.
London is a good example of how the “smart city” movement is already re-shaping the city. In 2016, flexible office take-up in London increased by almost 9% which is above the 5-year average of 8.4%. The largest deal in the UK capital for last year’s Q4 was a pre-let at Cain Hoys’ Bard scheme, in Shoreditch, where WeWork signed for 137,000 sq. ft.
Flying cars might be a feature in the future but this may still be uncertain. What is certain is that coworking or flexible work spaces are here to stay.