Today’s workers enjoy new choices and new spaces to cultivate their creativity, increase their productivity and improve their health and wellness. Unshackled from cubicle farms and assigned work stations, workers today are setting up at coffee shops, coworking spaces, on couches and at backyard picnic tables— even when they travel. Over the next decade, CBRE predicts this radical reimagining of the workplace will accelerate.
At the end of 2019, Regus quoted that over 50% of workers globally, work outside the main office 2.5 days a week or more. With the onset of COVID-19, these statistics are much higher. The biggest change has been technology. And it has given “the office” a serious identity crisis.
The physical environment used to serve as the place where workers engaged one another, carried out work process and stored the tools and files necessary to be productive. Technology has, in most ways, replaced the physical environment with a virtual one that can be accessed anywhere. It’s the differentiator that is providing that workplace flexibility. And because of that, tech is a much greater dependency for people today than a physical workplace.
By 2030, CBRE predicts, nearly all employees will be mobile and require a network of locations to make them as productive and engaged as possible.
Employers will have to offer a menu of working locations that are flexible enough to meet the varied personal and professional needs that employees juggle. This is a big leap from the rigidity of limiting employees to a single location and putting the burden on them to make that location fit their life.
One data point underscores the movement: Global shipment rates for laptop computers have outpaced desktops by more than 50% for at least a decade, according to International Data Corporation. Additionally, tablets have become the preferred personal device, with 2018 sales up by more than 600% from 2010— illustrating the highly mobile culture that has developed over the past decade. And of course, smartphones and everincreasing network speeds have created the always-plugged-in state of people who respond to work messages while in line at the grocery store, brushing their teeth or taking a break from the surf in Maui.
But this transformation is also a result of changes in how work gets done: Task-oriented, process-driven work streams are evolving into ones that require knowledge workers armed with creativity and critical thinking. The 2030 workplace will compete for use among an even more diverse and mobile workforce. To contend with the myriad of connectivity available in a 5G world, it must be the best venue to connect with colleagues, experience brand and mission, and get work done.