Chief Happiness Officer – apply here!

Wellness will be at the core of real estate strategy by 2030 according to a new JLL report from its partnership with TEDxSydney

November 30, 2017

Two recent JLL reports exploring priorities for the future workplace highlight that wellness has become mainstream and by 2030 will be firmly entrenched at the core of real estate solutions.

JLL’s ‘Workplace Powered by Human Experience’ report recommends organisations should consider appointing a ‘Chief Happiness Officer’ to champion the employee experience.  This followed responses from 79 percent of survey respondents in Australia, supporting the idea for this role to be established in corporate Australia.

JLL’s TEDxSydney report, ‘The Human Revolution’ states the importance of health and wellbeing in the workplace cannot be underestimated, and quotes statistics from a Deloitte report estimating absenteeism to cost the Australian economy $44 billion a year.

The report quotes Dr Bridianne O’Dea, a Research Fellow at the Black Dog Institute, who spoke at JLL’s TEDxSydney event. She said that, “50 percent of us will have a mental illness in our lifespan. It’s potentially the biggest loss of economic earnings in Australia.”

As part of the JLL and TEDxSydney partnership, we surveyed more than 260 people to find out what will have the biggest impact on the way we live and work in the year 2030.

Key findings of the JLL's TEDxSydney Report - 'The Human Revolution' are:

  • Wellness will be at the core: Survey respondents rated an increased focus on physical and mental wellbeing as having the second biggest impact in the way people work between now and 2030.  31 percent of respondents strongly agreed that access to mental health and wellbeing programs and support would allow them to take less time off and be more productive.  88 percent also said ‘time to exercise at work keeps me motivated and healthy’ while 96 percent said ‘access to fresh air improves productivity’.

  • The rise of co-working: By 2030, most people expect to be spending their working lives in co-working spaces. Whilst co-working has predominantly been the home for small business and start-ups, it’s anticipated that by 2020, co-working space will overtake the traditional serviced office as more and more large corporates get on board.

  • Design-led solutions: An overwhelming 91 percent of respondents desired more choice and control in their workplace. The report states that it is easy for companies to incorporate simple design elements into their workplace that can improve happiness and increase productivity.  Whether refurbishing existing space or fitting out new office, companies should incorporate design elements that boost employees sense of control via easily reconfigurable furniture that allows them to change to suit their needs.

  • Design with repurpose in mind: Technology is changing the way we work and commute.  This is going to have direct implications on the buildings and workplaces of the future. Respondents predict that by 2030, they will use public transport more often, as well as turning to car pools or autonomous vehicles.  By 2030, only 16 percent of people we surveyed expect to drive themselves to work in their own car, a massive drop on the 66 percent of Australians who travel by car to work today (according to an ABC Research & Development Report titled ‘The Commute’).  The flow-through effect of this trend will be a decreased need for car parking.  That presents new challenges in how best to adapt these spaces, with possible solutions including urban farming, sleep pods, exercise studios or even into warehouse style residential conversions.

  • Human-to-human interaction: 43 percent of respondents strongly agreed that working alongside humans inspired them to think differently.  In contrast, only 6 percent believed that working alongside robots would inspire them to think differently.  Building managers need to think strategically about how to facilitate human-to-human interaction in a building.  There are always opportunities to assist tenant interaction and contribute to a more productive building culture. 

  • Community is key: Community will be key to creating a successful workplace environment in 2030.  Developers and investors have embraced placemaking as a potential differentiator with commercial and retail assets now expected to do more than just meet workplace and retail needs of customers. It’s imperative that owners and managers of property work hard with retailers, tenants, customers and the community to establish their assets as genuine public space.

Rajiv Nagrath - Executive Director and Chair for Corporate Solutions - Australia said “This report is all about how people occupy and invest in property.

“We’ve included recommendations for both investors and corporate landlords and occupiers to consider when designing new buildings and workplaces and the urban environment surrounding office space.

“The responses to our survey allowed us to provide a forward-thinking look at how community, wellness and design will disrupt the property industry by 2030. 

“What we see as key is that workplace design will continue to play a major role in boosting employee engagement and the culture of an organisation. 64 percent of survey respondents strongly agreed that the workplace setting itself will have a major influence on the culture of an organisation.  Over half strongly agreed that choice and control in the work environment is important,” said Mr Nagrath.

Richard Fennell – Head of Property and Asset Management – Australia said, “Design of buildings is changing because of the uses desired by the people using them.  They want precincts and communities that provide human connections and wellness taken into account in the design.

“We need to add into the conversation the principle of building resilience and adaptability and consider the ‘design with repurpose in mind’. As the Digital Revolution changes how we work and how we communicate and socialize, a building’s use will change and the best buildings will be those that can change and adapt. An example we can all see coming is car parks.

“How we use traditional car parks in buildings will change over time due to the onset of driverless cars.  Owners and developers need to consider the adaptive reuse potential of car parks, retail uses, social and community spaces, storage and logistics, or urban farming, exercise studios or sleep pods.  

“Urban farming is a growing phenomenon where food is cultivated, processed and distributed in or around a village, town or city.  An urban farm could be created in a building’s redundant car park and the produce used to service local kitchens and cafes within that proximity.  

“Urban farming is yet to be embraced by mainstream property companies, no doubt due to the traditional concepts of value and property best use, but we believe this could change.

“Commuting patterns are changing.  In 2006, only 7 percent of car journeys were as a car passenger.  However we are likely to see this number increase significantly by 2030 as our respondents believe that autonomous vehicles will become more prevalent and 29 percent of our sample expect to use them as their primary method for travelling to work,” said Mr Fennell.


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