Yesterday I received a comment on my post about service and product companies with a suggestion to check out an interesting Fast Company article talking about the future of work (thank you Amy). The article was based on a research report – commissioned by CBRE and a real estate developer in China (Genesis) – called Fast Forward 2030: The Future of Work and the Workplace.
This is a topic that’s getting a lot airtime right now because Millennials are starting to impact work in a big way. But what’s interesting about it is how broad these impacts will be. Changes in how we work will affect the way we design our cities; the way architects and developers build and lease space; the type of people and roles companies will need to hire and create; and so on.
Here’s a snippet from the report:
“Providers of commercial buildings and places to work will need to develop new, sometimes counter intuitive, business models and work with partners who understand service and experience in order to compete with emerging workplace competitors. Successful providers will work with tenants to unlock ‘win win’ solutions that reduce occupier costs, increase flexibility, and simultaneously provide enhanced levels of community, amenity and user wellbeing. Cities will have a role to lead and nurture changes that will support the changing landscape of work.”
I plan to go through the report in more detail this weekend, but I did want to point out one thing. When business leaders from around the world were asked what their biggest competitive advantage would be by the year 2030, the top choice was: the ability to attract and retain top talent. This topped organizational vision and even the ability to innovate.
This might not come as a surprise to some of you, but it’s worth repeating. And in many ways, it’s a chain that begins first with cities.
If you’ve ever watched The Startup Kids documentary, you’ll know that when Alexander Ljung (CEO of Soundcloud.com) was about to found his company, he actually started by first traveling around Europe looking for the coolest city in which to base his company. The last city on his trip was Berlin and that just so happened to be the team’s favorite. So that’s where Soundcloud was founded.
My point with that story is simply that the “workplace” of today – forget the future – means so much more than just your rentable area. Yes, that’s important. But there’s a lot more to consider when trying to get the best people. Cities play a huge role.