Reductions in real estate footprint, increased use of automation and greater flexibility for employees in workplace location are all ideas that preceded the current pandemic, listeners to an IWFM webinar heard this week.
Derrick Tate, director of real estate advisory and hybrid transformation at PwC and one of the speakers on the webinar title ‘The Future is Hybrid’ and part of IWFM’s ‘Navigating Turbulent Times’ series said: “Many companies already have plans to reduce the real estate over time, so it's not new but it’s probably accelerated and magnified.”
He added: “Many companies we’re speaking to are looking at reducing footprints by up to 50 per cent, for example. Previously they might have been looking at 20-30 per cent. Other companies are still thinking of not reducing their footprint but using the space for more value-added activities."
Tate said the narrative within the workplace and facilities management profession, long before the pandemic, has been about delivering a workplace that caters to many users and meets their varied needs. Perhaps more succinctly, Tate referred to the new purpose of the office, focused on the ‘Five Cs: collaboration community, concentration and creativity and coaching’.
Spaces for community and collaboration are likely to grow in size compared with the likely decrease in quiet work areas with banks of desks.
Tate said: “Your collaboration and community space probably takes up more square metres than a desk does so you’ve got to balance that.
“Overall we probably expect that there will be a reduction in footprint, there will be changes in locations, changes in the layout of the office and how people use it, and, very importantly for FMs, changes in the services that need to be provided to people within the workplace.”