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News release

Australia

Better use of office space and the adoption of new technologies key to commercial real estate decisions in 2013: Jones Lang LaSalle


AUSTRALIA, 11 February 2013 – Productivity gains, including better use of office space and the adoption of new technologies, are set to be at the heart of corporate real estate decisions in 2013 – a result of the global economy struggling to mount a full-scale recovery, constrained revenue growth in the private sector and a continued focus on cost containment.
 
Tony Wyllie, Regional Director of Corporate Solutions at Jones Lang LaSalle, said there are several key components to productivity gains which will influence commercial real estate decisions in 2013.
 
“Real estate cost savings and cost avoidance, increased employee productivity and improvements in risk management processes will be important for commercial real estate decisions this year.”
 
Mr Wyllie said organisations traditionally achieve productivity gains from two basic approaches: adopting new technology and integrating it into the way work is done, and/or developing and adopting new management practices.

The adoption of new technology
 
Mr Wyllie said productivity and mobility will be improved by ever smarter IT, telephony and mobile communications in 2013, which will optimise space and working practices. However, it will take time for staff to adapt to new technology and productivity gains will not be immediate.
 
“Today, a new wave of collaborative or social technologies, most of which appeared only within the last decade, are entering the workplace. ‘Wireless’, ‘mobile’ and ‘smart’ are very familiar, and enable a flexible and movable work environment away from the historic ‘my desk’ culture, fostering a more collaborative mind set.
 
“’Cloud computing’ – once security issues are resolved and some industry cynicism overcome - will eliminate much of the IT infrastructure in the corporate facilities and the cooling, protection and fixed space it necessitates, providing greater flexibility in the workspace and the property portfolio.”
 
According to Mr Wyllie, space configuration requirements will move toward 70% collaboration and 40% individual over time as technologies allow flexibility and adaptability and the office becomes more collaborative in function.
 
“Less space will be required as technologies enable more intensive utility and eliminate the need for space-consuming IT infrastructure. For example, the server room will soon become redundant in many offices,” said Mr Wyllie.
 
The adoption of new management practices
 
Key to achieving cost savings and cost avoidance on an ongoing basis is to have a strategic portfolio management plan in place, according to Mr Wyllie. “Critical success factors include robust and real-time portfolio data, an understanding of business objectives and growth strategies including as clear-as-possible a picture of headcount fluctuations and access to real estate market opportunities.”
 
According to Mr Wyllie, in order to drive employee productivity gains, a combination of employee mobility and workplace agility strategies should be considered, including non-assigned desks, supported by multiple options for collaboration in the workplace, enhancing the work experience for staff and providing better access to technology within and outside the workplace.
 
“Complementary strategies could include decentralising the office portfolio supported by ‘drop-in’ centres in CBD locations.
 
“Corporate leaders have recognised that the best innovation comes from collaboration and leveraging technology. They know they compete in global markets where the pace of change is accelerating and therefore the need for innovation within the organisation is ever increasing.
 
“To drive such innovation the corporate world is reviewing the funding allocation for innovation, the way they manage talent, how it is measured and more importantly integrations – how a collaborative environment can be created to foster innovation.
 
“Those organisations that take productivity seriously will challenge themselves to develop organisational wide metrics, including a number in the real estate discipline,” concluded Mr Wyllie. ​