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Cubicles aren’t the only things disappearing from today’s workplace. Walls in general are going down and lifestyle amenities are going up. Socializing with co-workers throughout the day was frowned upon two decades ago whereas today it’s being encouraged. There have been extraordinary changes taking place in the workplace dragging CRE along with it.
Millennials and Gen Z are Driving Workplace Changes
Most of the changes happening in the workplace can be attributed to both millennials and Generation Z and their native understanding of technology. Born into the tech age, millennials and Gen Z are more entrepreneurial than their older counterparts. They’ve seen successes like Google and Facebook, podcast superstars and YouTube channels become cash cows and are willing to take their chances to become the next online success story.
Previous generations place the value of a high wage as the most important job incentive. Millennials put career advancement highest as it fits in with their overall life goals. Perhaps the most significant characteristic of these groups is their propensity to leave a job after three to five years.
By the time they’re in their 30’s most millennials have already spent a few years at several different companies. For that reason businesses are using the building itself as a lure to attract and retain top talent. These demands have changed and continue to change CRE in a number of different ways.
Connectivity is King
Space used to be the operative word for office CRE. Now the most valuable feature of a CRE asset is its connectivity. All CRE from multifamily to industrial is utilizing technological advances to make buildings smarter and more efficient.
Workspaces today have to support remote workforces while on-site efficiencies are being added into the infrastructure of the building. Industrial has already been experiencing enormous changes in the workforce where personnel are being replaced with automation and robotics. This trend is expected to cause the loss of up to 47% of jobs.
Socializing is Encouraged
Loitering at a co-workers desk is no longer chastised but rather encouraged. CRE design is beginning to cater to new work styles that prioritize collaboration over isolated, stationary office setups. Spaces for innovation, relaxation, recreation, and collaboration are necessities in today’s modern office.
Amenities are Lures
Millennials and Gen Z have the option to work from home, start their own businesses, or leave a job where they are not happy. They are more mobile than previous workforces in a lot of ways. Companies are using work/life balance amenities to attract top talent to stay.
Modern office spaces are being designed to include on-site gyms and showers, game rooms, lounge areas, spas, cafes, restaurants, laundry service, and more.
Flexibility is Key
Gallup found that nearly 40% of workers would leave a job for a more flexible schedule. The most talented workers are driven by flexibility. An employer with flex work schedules retains top talent at 100% the rate of standard office schedules, according to a study by Deloitte.
Moreover, studies show that employees are most engaged when they are able to work outside of the office at least 60% of the time. Although all workers prefer flex schedules, millennials want it the most. So modern offices are shrinking at the same time that office sharing models are on the rise.
Quality of Life Matters
More than money, millennials and Gen Z workers want perks and benefits that improve their quality of life. The basics like health insurance, paid time off, and positive work environments are the most important things to these groups. CRE is trying to keep up by designing buildings with bigger windows that allow more sunlight while putting up fewer walls, for example.