If you opened a door in your office, and found 20,000 square feet of empty, unused space, what would you do with it?
“Use space as a differentiator. This is an increasingly popular trend in real estate. People are taking their spaces and using them for co-working in order to distinguish themselves and their working environments.” says Senior Vice President of Workplace Strategy at JLL, Phil Kirschner. Reliance on technology is increasing due to the Fourth Industrial Revolution taking hold in New York City, meaning that the workforce must be even more technologically-savvy than ever. As the workforce transforms into a younger demographic with a different skillset, they begin to dictate real estate trends.
These younger “techies” are not used to being tethered to a desk, stuck in an office building from 9 to 5. Rather, they need a dynamic, engaging environment where they can move about and interact with coworkers and peers, alike.
The changing workforce has influenced movements in workplace strategy, namely, in the boom of co-working. Kirschner sees co-working happening two ways; The first, is when a company puts an employee into a shared space due to flexibility and cost. The second, is when a freelancer utilizes a shared space for the amenities and networking community available there. Either way, both options allow co-workers to benefit from the cool environments and network of professionals found in these shared working spaces.
Don’t get me wrong: progressive real estate strategies do not mean that companies need to take less space. However, co-working means that square footage will be UTILIZED completely differently and as Phil mentioned, space can differentiate one business from the next. There are many more options today for how a company can use the space they lease than there were 10 years ago.
In terms of recruiting, existing co-working spaces are where those tech-savvy computer programmers are currently working. Because of the increased technological demand of our day-to-day transactions, every company is gradually becoming a technology company, companies in various industries have a need to recruit those programmers, who are used to unique, flexible co-working environments. Simply said, the kind of young people that companies need are, for many reasons (generational, situational), less tolerant of boring work environments. Mahogany spaces with cubes, desks, and offices of assigned seating will no longer draw in the next generation of professionals. In order to get top talent, organizations need to utilize at least some form of co-working space within their offices.
Co-working is a positive change. It allows for better talent sourcing, and turns our office spaces into creative incubator-like environments for people to connect, interact, and grow. Next week, we take an up close and personal look at one financial firm’s revolutionary co-working solution.
For more information on this topic, see our Fully Engaged Workplace Strategy report.