Key Trends Shaping Workplace, CRE and PropTech in 2022
Get ready to meet IAQ, WFA, ESG, or REaaS. These abbreviations stand for highlights and buzzwords that will redefine the new office world in 2022.
The world of work is changing and the long-term model is yet to be identified. Companies in every field are assessing their needs in real estate and modes and forms of work. In terms of real estate, we will increasingly see “compact” places with high demand to support collaboration, meetings, and interactions while the individual focus work will increasingly take place elsewhere.
What can we expect from the coming year? Get ready to meet IAQ, WFA, ESG, or REaaS. What's hidden behind these abbreviations? Probably the highlights and buzzwords that will refine and redefine this brand new world in 2022. Let's explore it!
YEAR OF MOBILE ACCESS MATURITY
2022 will be the year of huge mobile access adoption. According to the latest “The State of Physical Access Control Report” by HID Global, “over 50 percent of respondents’ companies have already upgraded to mobile, are in the process of upgrading to mobile, or have plans to deploy mobile access in the near future.” In 2019, only 31 percent of companies were at the same stages of deploying mobile solutions.
Apple will be another game-changing factor. Coming in 2022 as part of the iOS 15 update, Apple Wallet will soon use the same underlying NFC technology like Apple Pay to allow users to access their workplace simply by tapping their phone into the card reader. Employees will not be required to open an app or even unlock their phone to gain access – their locked (or even dead) phone will essentially replicate an RFID keycard, as Nadav Cornberg emphasizes. It will substantially simplify the process of issuing a digital badge. In December Apple launched support for hotel keys in Apple Wallet, initially with Hyatt Worldwide.
Since Covid-19 is still not a part of our history, we haven't seen the long-awaited massive return back to work in 2021. The average office occupancy in the U.S. was 39.5% in December. Hopefully, we will see a rapid increase in 2022. To provide a smooth return to work with re-opening the office building, you should do your “property homework” first – ensure a safe and healthy environment. The term most often used in this context is IAQ = Indoor Air Quality.
Second, make sure everything in the building is tuned and working as it should. Then you can think of adopting white-glove return services to attract more tenants back to their seats.
Hybrid work, 3-2-2 scheme, and pandemic measurements dramatically changed the standard people's flow in the office building during a week. How many people will come to the office today? How many of them will arrive by car? Which meeting room is the most booked and needs extra cleaning service? – To manage the office comeback swiftly, rely on real data analytics, not assumptions. To address this need, Sharry released Insights in August. The new analytics platform is designed for property and asset managers to understand in great depth what’s going on in their building (or even across a portfolio of buildings) and to set up daily operations properly based on relevant data from various end-points.
“The key development to watch is not how many employees make the commute (to work) each month. Rather, keep an eye on the peak space needs for the days when all employees are in the office for teamwork and communication, as this will drive overall demand for office space,” adds Calvin Schnure, Senior Vice President, Research & Economic Analysis at NAREIT in his prediction with TOP 10 things to watch in commercial real estate in 2022.
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HYBRID WORK CONSEQUENCES
As WFA (work from anywhere) is the new “nine-to-five”, the workspace utilization becomes much more unpredictable. A hybrid workforce, comprising employees who work remotely and those who work from an office or central location, has an impact on a variety of areas:
Dynamic parking: Assign a parking spot to a user who comes to the office only for 2-3 days and let it be unoccupied for the rest of the week? Parking management has to implement dynamic zones and share real-time occupancy data (e.g. in the building's mobile app or digital signage by the parking entrance). The pandemic appears to have reinforced the bond between drivers and their cars – with public transport less attractive than ever.
Hybrid etiquette: How to deal with a situation, when you're holding a meeting with some people in the same room and others dialing in? The Wired magazine reminds us that we need a new hybrid working etiquette. “It’s not just about being polite, but about establishing behavioral norms to make sure that work activities run smoothly and efficiently, and that company culture stays healthy and inclusive.”
The 15-minute city: Flexible work is now a fact of life: 76% of knowledge workers globally want the freedom to decide where they do their job. That brings huge effects on transit systems and also on cities. Paris is working on a new urban planning model for this localized future: the ‘15-minute city’. The concept aims to improve quality of life by creating cities where everything a resident needs can be reached within a quarter of an hour by foot or bike. Regarding the workspace, this concept could be fulfilled by the hub & spoke office model or an unlimited network of coworking centers like Uplex is trying to establish.
3-2-2 vs. 4-3
We are barely used to 3-2-2 being the new normal and it's already fighting with a new trend: a four-day work week and a three-day weekend. From Microsoft Japan to Semco in Brazil and the government of Iceland to Perpetual Guardian in New Zealand, organizations are figuring out how to make this scheme work. Before Covid-19, it was a novelty. In 2022, the four-day work week may start to become a competitive advantage for companies, as LinkedIn shares forecasts of various experts in the article titled 22 Big Ideas that will change our world in 2022. Companies that offer 50 extra days of freedom a year will have an easier time attracting and retaining talented people.
If this trend prevails, it could have a strong impact on the commercial real estate market. Will this lead to office space reduction, if companies should pay for something that is used only for 35 hours out of 168 hour-week? Will we see office building parking being opened to the public? (By the way, this is already happening. Sharry has agreed to partner with Mr.Parkit in Prague to offer free parking spots at office buildings to other drivers. Through higher parking utilization, it opens a new revenue stream for property landlords.)
THE RISE OF ESG
Awareness is growing that real estate has a significant environmental and social impact through the performance of a building in terms of carbon emissions, creation of adjacent public spaces, influencing the social aspects and quality of the environment. The ESG criteria (ESG = environmental, social and corporate governance) will become a new lens for decision-makers in terms of investment into real estate assets.
In June 2021, Hines, the international real estate firm, unveiled an ambitious new ESG strategy to elevate its commitments to environmental, social, and governance issues, with a particular focus on the climate emergency, by accelerating its efforts to lead the industry in the decarbonization of the built environment.
Linkedin editor Pieter Cranenbroek continues: “But whistleblowers from investment firms like BlackRock have begun to question sustainable investing, calling it a 'mirage,' and critics are calling for clearer definitions and standards. As trillions of euros flow into the sustainable investing movement, participants have begun to complain that there is no way to compare one green investment against another. Expect a reckoning in 2022.”
...BUILDING AS A PREMIUM SERVICE
This is by no means a complete list of new trends emerging in 2022 in the commercial real estate market. We invite you to join us! What technology, social movement, invention, or another aspect will affect the way how, when, and where we work? Let us know!
We would like to conclude this forecast report with a recommendation by Marco Macagnano, Digital Real Estate Leader at Deloitte Canada: “Leaders should adopt a Real Estate-as-a-Service (REaaS) approach, which combines strategy, technology, and data to deliver digital and physical services—not just space—to tenants and users. By deploying a REaaS model, firms could combine and cross-leverage smart building capabilities across systems, enabling a flexible yet comprehensive infrastructure to support end-user requirements under one roof.”