Once restricted to our desks, power cords, and organisations, we now have the opportunity to work where, when, how and with whom we choose. We are embracing liberated work – working in a more distributed, flexible and collaborative way.
‘Liberated work’ means the ability to choose where (distributed), when, how (flexible), and with whom we work (collaborative). The movement to liberated work is apparent in the exponential growth in coworking spaces and smart work hubs, demand for collaborative work tools, and the increasing shift to freelance work.
Liberated work has been shown to increase employee happiness at home and a more engaged and productive workforce. Companies are seeking to embrace liberated work principles to reduce of overhead real estate costs by embracing flexible lease arrangements. Collaborative workspaces also assist in talent attraction, retention, productivity and innovation. As the competition for talent continues to grow, companies that have embraced liberated work will be better positioned to retain and attract the best talent.
Going into the office has become a daily choice for many. Technology devices and internet connections provides us with all the tools required to work in any location. In future, a centralised workplace will be viable only when it offers opportunities to connect, learn and collaborate in real-time. The physical layout will dramatically shift, likely consisting of a kitchen, learning labs, project studios and meeting spaces.
In a world where knowledge workers are embracing this different work style, those involved in the business of workplaces need to adapt.
The burgeoning coworking industry – shared workplaces used by freelancers and small businesses with monthly membership fees – is growing rapidly. There is a clear opportunity to provide high-quality workplace experiences that individuals will pay for. Real estate companies need to rethink the way they approach workplaces – it is no longer just about real estate- it about providing great workplace experiences.
The property groups that embrace the change to liberated work by providing distributed and flexible workspaces will be in the best position to capitalise on this opportunity. We have seen large property groups in Australia like GPT and ISPT investigate and pursue work hubs as a way of attracting and retaining tenants, as well as diversifying their portfolio.