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New research conducted by Locatee claims that employee wellbeing is the top priority for CRE managers over the next five years. The research details the opinions of corporate real estate managers (CREMs) from across Europe, outlining the changes they have seen during the pandemic, and how their businesses will adapt for the future.

It follows research conducted in the US earlier this year by Locatee which claimed US organisations were failing to adapt to post-pandemic realities.

 

Europe sets five year goals firmly around employee wellbeing

Responding to employees’ needs and attracting new talent are clear priorities when it comes to re-shaping workspaces. 88 percent of respondents feel that employee wellbeing and satisfaction is a critical factor in shaping workspace configuration over the next two years.

59 percent of executives flag an increased need to focus on talent attraction and retention. This ties in with growing demand from employees for flexible working options post-pandemic.

For businesses, the past year has revolved around performance, cost management, and business resiliency. CRE managers have taken on additional responsibilities for managing occupational health and safety in the workplace, with 98 percent of those surveyed stating they expect their role to change to encompass this over the next five years.

 

Flexible working, flexible workspaces

When it comes to new models of working, 90 percent of respondents highlighted employees’ increased desire to work flexibly as a ‘very significant’ or ‘significant’ challenge over the next five years. The shift from full time office attendance to a hybrid model has led many CRE managers to reassess the space optimisation and efficiency of their current portfolio. As a result, 70 percent of the firms surveyed are planning to or have already implemented office redesigns to accommodate the shift towards hybrid work.

The majority (74 percent) of European CRE managers are already utilising a progressive flexible workspace strategy, in contrast to the US where 60 percent of office space is assigned. This preference is set to continue growing, with 90 percent of European firms planning to move to hot-desking, co-working and activity based configurations in the next two years, compared to just 38 percent of American firms.

 

European CREMs falling behind US peers’ data collection

Whilst the majority (88 percent) of respondents surveyed feel that employee wellbeing and satisfaction is an important factor in shaping workplace configuration over the next two years, most lack the data to do so. Despite employee satisfaction ranking as a key business outcome, only 57 percent of EU businesses use this metric as part of workspace performance measurement. Despite European CRE managers advocating a more progressive and responsive approach to workspace strategies, US companies currently outperform Europe in all areas of data collection. European CRE managers are also severely lacking in footfall data collection, with just 59 percent measuring how people are utilising and moving through the space.

82 percent of European CRE respondents cite a lack of access to accurate data as a significant hurdle to achieving business initiatives, including improving employee satisfaction. However, the research also claims that 29 percent of executives plan to decrease data collection in wellbeing areas over the next two years, suggesting a misalignment between the CRE and executive functions within global corporate multinationals.

“European CRE managers are leading the charge in creating spaces which are fit for purpose”

Thomas Kessler, CEO and co-founder at Locatee comments: “The pandemic has caused many businesses to reassess their CRE priorities, and we’re seeing an increased importance placed on employees’ wellbeing and satisfaction. This has been driven by skyrocketing demand for flexible working models, and our research shows that European CRE managers are leading the charge in creating spaces which are fit for purpose both physically and mentally.

However, a lack of data will create real challenges for CRE managers in Europe when it comes to implementing these progressive strategies and initiatives. As society continues to move towards a fully integrated hybrid working model, companies will need to ensure that their CRE teams have access to comprehensive data in order to future proof the office for years to come.”

The full report can be found here.

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