A new report commissioned by Siemens from analyst firm Verdantix, has found that while the move to flexible working is widely accepted, preparedness to implement such a strategy is not yet fully realised.
Comfy and Enlighted, subsidiary companies of Siemens and providers of intelligent and sustainable workspace solutions, have released findings from The New Workplace Reality report. The study polled 75 corporate real estate (CRE) executives from global companies with annual revenues of over $1 billion on the strategic considerations of redefining workforce models due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Among the study’s key findings are:
- While the majority of respondents (83 per cent) have shifted permanently to a hybrid work model, most (88 per cent) are not prepared with change management processes to implement the shift, and 25 per cent of respondents are still firming up their return-to-work strategies.
- Maximising business productivity is the top concern for corporate real estate executives, with flexible working seen by 99 per cent of respondents as a critical enabler. Sustainability was noted as the second highest priority by 91 per cent of CRE executives.
- The emphasis on hybrid workspaces has transformed the role of the corporate real estate executive, with over half experiencing major role changes, of which 93 per cent cited having more strategic influence.
Matthias Rebellius, Managing Board Member of Siemens AG and CEO of Smart Infrastructure said: “Our study results indicate that enterprise companies are considering how the seismic shift in work impacts top-line objectives such as productivity and sustainability.
“At the core of any business is the health and wellbeing of its workforce. We understand the criticality of a smooth transition to the new ways of hybrid working because we have made a global corporate commitment to this ourselves. Our real-world experience puts us in a unique position to advise and assist enterprise organisations through this universal transformation.”
Stefan Schwab, CEO of Comfy and Enlighted added: “We see the movement to hybrid working as a fundamental change in how people connect to their co-workers and their workspaces.
“Employees need applications that help them engage in activity-based work in new kinds of spaces, collaborating with others where and when it makes sense. Corporate real estate executives need ways to understand, track and adapt to shifting working models, leveraging technologies and data insights for smart building optimisation and sustainability. Our solutions address these related, yet diverse needs.”
The complexity of transitioning from a traditional office-based model to hybrid has been further compounded by the emergence of Covid variants and inconsistent timing of global vaccine rollouts. Many executives are still determining the processes and next steps to return their employees safely back to a hybrid office environment. Issues such as a changing capacity limits, new policies for onsite working and a lack of understanding on how activity-based workspaces should be managed are driving the uncertainty around how to implement a hybrid work model.
Top priorities for CRE Executives
As companies strive to balance worker flexibility with company collaboration and culture, considerations such as employee productivity, sustainability and building decarbonisation, and existing real estate and technology investments ranked high on the list of priorities. Maximising business productivity is a leading priority amongst corporate real estate executives, with 59 per cent ranking it as very high priority and 41 per cent ranking it as high priority. The second most important business initiative for real estate executives in 2022 is energy efficiency and sustainability, with 91 per cent of CRE executives considering it a very high or high priority.
Nearly all respondents (99 per cent) view flexible working as imperative for maximising business productivity, with 45 per cent ranking it as very significant and 54 per cent regarding it as significant. Because respondents viewed flexible working as the critical enabler for optimising productivity, it accelerated companies’ readiness plans for office re-openings.
To explore all of the study’s findings and analysis, download the full report click here.
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