Sep 20 2010

Real estate pros discuss workplace of the future

What do workplaces look like in the future?

A string of cubicles in an office skyscraper? Or a connected web of workers operating remotely using laptops and cell phones and meeting in a virtual 3-D world?

About 300 corporate real estate professionals gathered in uptown Wednesday to learn about the challenges of designing tomorrow’s work spaces.

Providing employees with a work space is a seemingly simple concept, but it’s one that’s becoming more difficult as baby boomers retire and the workforce becomes younger. Technology is also changing how and when people are on the job.

Companies typically provide about 250 square feet of space for each worker, according to CoreNet Global. That number may be shrinking.

Years ago, companies would simply construct new buildings if they expected to grow. Now, such a move may not prove cost effective if employees end up working remotely.

Another emerging trend: advanced teleconferencing to connect workers.

And some companies may need to forget the notion of providing bricks and mortar spaces from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., speakers said. Younger workers tend to work varied hours, such as at 2 a.m. using a laptop at home.

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