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Global study finds future of work relies on people, not tech

New research launched by JLL NZ predicts that rather than replace workers, the true role of technology in the workplace will be to enhance human experience and help us realise our fullest potential.

JLL NZ has launched its Future of Work research in New Zealand, the product of a year-long global co-creation effort with other progressive leaders across a broad range of industries.

The research highlights the company’s views on the changing world of work and its impact on the next generation of corporate real estate. While digitisation is of course a significant driver of the future of the work, JLL asserts that it’s not the most important piece – that belongs to human experience.

JLL Australasia Director of Workplace Strategy, Dinesh Acharya says rather than replace us, technology is emerging and developing to bring the best out of people.

“People are at the heart of every enterprise—from the visionaries who bring their ideas to life, to the countless employees who every day keep the vision alive and growing,” says Acharya.

“The tremendous value organisations place on their people is stretching into real estate, as executives realise it is not enough to give people a job and a place to work—you need to create a space where they want to be. Human experience is a key differentiator for how people engage with an organisation—both strategically and operationally.”

This view is endorsed by a study from The Economist Intelligence Unit and the Harvard Business Review, which surveyed 197 companies worldwide with sales exceeding $500 million. Most of these companies’ recent strategies delivered only 63 percent of their promised financial value, with the reasons for falling short all pointing to human experience. These included unclear execution actions, organisational silos and culture blockers, inadequate performance monitoring and inadequate consequences or rewards.

Acharya says creating memorable experiences within real estate is a key differentiator for how people engage with an organisation, and is crucial for organisations to harness in order to remain competitive – and even existent – in the near future.

“Determining how and where people will work has massive impacts on productivity, employee engagement, competitiveness and an organisation’s brand and reputation,” says Acharya.

“To achieve a compelling human experience, the imperative is to prioritise people first through engagement, empowerment and fulfilment at work. Technology can be a key enabler of all three factors.”

JLL’s research shows the standard office is competing more and more with off-site workplaces when it comes to where people want to be. 54 percent of people work at home more than five days a month, while just over 33 percent work regularly from other places like cafes, public libraries, or co-working spaces. Only 52 percent feel completely effective at work.

Acknowledging these changing attitudes and sentiments is driving a significant change in traditional workspaces as we know them, says Acharya. He expects that by 2030, 30 percent of corporate portfolios will comprise flexible space including coworking, incubator and accelerator space.

It’s insights like these, Acharya says, that can be instrumental in helping organisations to tailor their spaces for the future of work.

“Success in the new working era will be defined by those who can embrace uncertainty, turn disruption into opportunity and engage and empower its workers to see technology as an ally, not a threat.”

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