While traditionally, economic uncertainties lead to cost cutting, Gartner expects worldwide IT spending to total $4.6 trillion in 2023 – an increase of 5.1% from 2022. In our recent 2022 Refocus and Rationalize the Workplace study, we surveyed over 450 business leaders in HR, finance, facilities, and real estate who expressed cost optimization is important when it comes to real estate expenses, with 43% of respondents saying they will prioritize this over the coming one to three years.
With more than a third (31%) of business leaders stating they will put the spotlight on investing in a workplace that best aligns with the culture and mission of their organization, we expect the physical work environment to continue evolving in 2023.
Let’s dive into our top trends to watch, and how they’ll continue to shape the future workplace throughout 2023.
One of the building blocks of the reimagined office will be the potential of incorporating Net Zero emission goals in its design and resultant interventions. This will see workplace reservation and utilization software being integrated with the building management system that controls the power, HVAC, and operations. Not only will this improve the occupant’s experience in the building, but it will also reduce energy consumption and the company’s expenses when it comes to utilities.
This workplace management, room and desk booking, and visitor management solutions will combine with sensor technologies to provide the data business leaders need to inform their decision making around their real estate estates. The result is that organizations will increase their adoption of workplace sensors.
Analyzing the data generated by these sensors will be key as organizations look to develop the post-pandemic workplace. Pre-pandemic data is a start, but the historical data we hold loses some of its relevance as we move into the unknown. What worked pre-pandemic, and for at least a decade before that, simply won’t work in the future. An example is the cubicle farm, or banks of desks, many employees face when going into the office just 2.5 years ago.
Data from these sensors will be analyzed to understand workplace utilization trends better and ultimately uncover where businesses can better allocate and deliver the types of space needed. Over the long-term, these insights will empower the organization to rationalize the size and location of real estate assets. Because data will be the fuel driving physical workplace change, sensor technology will be a crucial enabler for the future world of work. It gives businesses an increased ability to solve large problems and answer previously impossible questions.
Of course, the design of the future workplace will be an iterative process, so data analytics that are not only descriptive but also real-time, predictive, and prescriptive will play a significant role.
But it is not only the physical environment that this analysis will impact. Organizations will use data to inform the creation of the ultimate employee experience. Concierge apps, among others, will be a major source of soft data, such as employee preferences, instead of the hard workplace analytics insights generated.
Recipe for workplace success in 2023
One of the key learnings of our recent 2022 Refocus and Rationalize the Workplace study was that 3 out of 4 business leaders admit to lacking the utilization and space data to make informed decisions about their workplace and real estate needs. As we head into the new year, this must change if organizations can deliver on employee and visitor expectations for the ‘new’ office.
Data is key! There must be a realization that what worked pre-pandemic will not work in 2023 and beyond. Decision-makers must use recent, fresh, quality data to understand and deliver physical environments that balance enriching the employee experience, identifying ways to cut down on unnecessary real estate costs, and optimizing underutilized workplaces based on how their people actually use these spaces.