The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Can You Imagine What Your Workplace Will Be Like In 2020?

01 April 2015 | Updated 01 January 1970

Become a modern-day Ninja in the brave new world of the agile workforce says Caleb Parker of who will be speaking at the FM Innovate conference in London on 23 April

Available statistics predicting the future of work and the impact of mobile technology on the growing agile workforce are staggering. They all point to a workforce and a working environment that is almost unrecognisable from the world we know today. 

The question is no longer whether radical changes are coming but how well we are prepared for them.

‘The reality is, whether you want to call it telework, or mobile work, workshifting, smart working, flexible work or whatever, the employees have already left the building and they’re not coming back.’

Flexible working strategies, reconfiguring legacy space, third places and leasing are just some of the keys to surviving the revolution but they are all powered increasingly by big data to help businesses make the best choices in the unchartered territory that this unstoppable agile workforce brings. Tooled up with data, we will be empowered to manoeuvre with some precision. If you think this sounds more like a game of Mortal Kombat than preparing for the future - you might be right.  Businesses are required to develop new skills to successfully adapt to the changing workforce demands, to be flexible around the changing employer-employee relationship and to rise to the challenges of the growing mobile workforce. Without these skills, businesses are very unlikely to thrive. Data will assist with making these leaps with as little risk as possible.


Knowledge is king

Just for example, with the predicted growth in the mobile work force, knowing how much space is actually needed for your business is crucial for any organisation to make sustainable cost saving space changes. Over 1.3 billion people are estimated to work remotely and require professional on-demand workspace by the end of 2015, so this will potentially result in a massive workspace shift.

It’s no surprise that whole employee groups of major corporations or departments have been moving from on-site to mobile workers. A full 42 per cent of IBM employees are mobile workers, working out of multiple locations.

While this shift might seem to favour the changing habits of the mobile workforce, there are compelling numbers that make it an extremely attractive option for employers: ‘A company with 20,000 workers reducing shadow vacancy by 20% would save $40M per year. Business units with 300 desks eliminating 20% unused desks would increase their profit margin by $600,000 per year’. Figures not to be sniffed at.


The consumerisation of commercial real estate

In light of the evidence around the agile workforce, backed up by the available research, It is now safe to predict that tomorrow every office building will support Workspace as a Service (WaaS) to accommodate these business and workforce requirements. New WaaS operators are entering the marketing as we stand and marvel at their speed and skill. Yes – data again...armed with data about the changing workspace requirements, they come to conquer. Building owners will forge partnerships with operators. Traditional commercial real estate firms will add the WaaS business model to their offering, others will partner with existing operators.


So, what’s next for us? How do we get the knowledge we need to make the changes?

Ask questions:

  • What steps do we take to understand how much space we are using today and reduce unnecessary occupancy costs for our changing workforce?
  • How do we accurately analyse data about the utilisation of office space?
  • How do we optimise real estate use?
  • How do we support multiple work styles from home to mobile, to increase workspace choices for employees?
  • How do we improve the quality of and the speed of our decisions?

Specialised ‘space utilisation’ software companies are rapidly adapting to this growing demand and answering some of our big questions around utilisation and occupancy.

It used to take years for changes to occur in the workplace but now change is happening yesterday. As with all revolutions, there will be those who adapt and thrive or those who will get caught in the headlights.

The future of work may be workforce driven but data will empower the employer to make informed decisions so they can adapt ahead of time and ensure that they are providing the best solutions and the best environments for their business and their talent. It can and will be a win:win solution but businesses need to get skilled up now -  Modern-day Ninja is the new job title for business owners of the future.

Caleb Parker is CEO of - an online marketplace that provides customers with access to meeting rooms, training centres and conference facilities worldwide

Article written by Caleb Parker | Published 01 April 2015


Related Articles

Heathrow Airport Landlord Achieves Full Occupancy Across Real Estate Portfolio

One of the largest private landlords at Heathrow has achieved full occupancy across its London-focused airport industrial real estate portfolio.  Aberdeen...

 Read Full Article
As COVID-19 Knocks Sentiment, What's Next for Global Commercial Property?

Paul Bagust, Global Property Standards Director at RICS looks to the future of global real estate's occupiers and investors. Bagust has delivered many...

 Read Full Article
Global Real Estate and COVID-19

We are currently experiencing the slowest rate of real estate transparency improvement since the period following the financial crisis of 2007–2008, according to...

 Read Full Article
Research Says Sustainable Buildings Will Bring Investors Tangible Financial Benefits

The latest research from professional services firm JLL suggests that investing in sustainable offices in central London will return “tangible financial...

 Read Full Article
Survey Reveals Smart Building Spending Plans And Tech Priorities For 2020

Independent research firm Verdantix has released its annual global survey of 304 real estate occupiers across 16 geographies and 18 industries. The survey focusses on...

 Read Full Article
Real Estate & Built Environment Positive Despite Brexit Shadow

A Rewards & Attitudes Survey has found that professionals in the industry are mostly positive about the outlook for the real estate and built environment in 2019 -...

 Read Full Article
RICS Quals Earn The Big Bucks & Gender Pay Gap Closing

A 39% higher salary – that's the effect a RICS qualification has on average pay in the real estate and built environment sector says our survey. This is just...

 Read Full Article
Co-working Direct To The High Street

Maybe Mike Ashley has a different plan for House of Fraser. JLL in America has predicted that co-working in retail properties will grow 25 per cent per year, for the next...

 Read Full Article
The Bat Cave London

TH Real Estate has agreed a new letting to Bacardi (with the Bat logo) Global Brands at The Steward Building, Spitalfields in London’s E1 area. Advised jointly...

 Read Full Article
Salad Days - Waldorf FM Innovate Conference Goes Nuts

By Emer McCourt – Head of Digital, and On April 23rd over 200 facilities management executives gathered in Central London...

 Read Full Article