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Research

Tech investment ‘key to unlocking’ future of workplace

Commercial real estate needs “sustained investment” in smart tech and data analytics to keep up with new ways of working, according to JLL.

“Deeper investment in intelligent technology will be key to unlocking new opportunities to boost performance and productivity, and there is clear evidence that this is accelerating,” the advisory firm said in its Future of Work Survey 2022.

However, JLL also warned that real estate lags behind when it comes to investment in – and use of – data.

Just 13% of respondents in the international survey said they collect data on an ongoing or real-time basis and use advanced analytics. By contrast, 42% said they capture and report data “intermittently”.

Offices will have to evolve to meet more complex and flexible demands from users. Doing so successfully will depend on having better analytics.

“Data will be as vital as technology to companies… and a systematic approach to data collection and analysis will be necessary to meet the complex operational models being designed to improve the performance of people, portfolios and assets,” JLL said.

The findings are part of a wider report reinforcing the idea that hybrid working is here to stay.

More than half (53%) of organisations will make remote working permanently available to all employees by 2025. While hybrid working strategies are likely to vary, a quarter of respondents said employees will choose where they work.

This does not mean the office is dead: nearly three-quarters (72%) of businesses expect the office to remain central to their working strategies.

But it does mean that office investment is now focused on creating quality spaces rather than occupying more space.

What tech do I need?

A consensus has formed among businesses that tech investment will be “one of the most powerful drivers of work efficiency”, the report said.

JLL Future Of Work Tech Priorities

Tech adoption has been moderate, but most companies expect to adopt more than 10 of the 15 “anchor” technologies that JLL has identified as crucial. These are:

  • Sustainability tech
  • Improvements in building connectivity or digital infrastructure
  • Sensors to monitor space and workplace performance
  • Predictive management/maintenance tech
  • Data science and statistics modelling techniques
  • Health tech
  • Immersive technologies/VR
  • Coworking and flexible space management software
  • Data warehouses or databases to store CRE data
  • Smart contracts or agreements secured via blockchain
  • Industrial robots for cleaning, maintenance or security
  • Workplace apps
  • Technology to minimize physical contact
  • In-office collaboration tech
  • Remote working tech

The top innovation already in place is remote working tech (among 47% of respondents), followed by in-office collaboration tools (40%).

Adopting green tech to improve environmental performance is the priority by 2025 among 60% of respondents.

Complexity will require outsourcing

Companies acknowledge that they are not equipped to tackle new challenges alone as real estate needs become more complex.

More than two-in-five respondents expect to outsource support for areas such as sustainability, wellbeing, renewable energy and proptech in the next three years.

JLL Outsourcing Priorities

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