Tech-Enablement: The New Driver of Office Design

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By: Dave MacDonald, Executive Vice President at JLLjll_tech-enabled-workspace

With ever increasing cloud adoption and demand for office flexibility, it’s no wonder that tenants have set their sights on tech-enabled workplaces. In fact, research has shown that a tech-enabled, cloud-computing workforce has higher levels of productivity and employee satisfaction.

Now more than ever, businesses nationwide are recognizing the benefits—and the need—for digital connectivity that extends well beyond their office layouts.

Closing the Gap in Tech Adoption

When you picture traditional office arrangements, you likely think cubicles, desktop computers with limited-to-no mobility, and separation between information technology (IT), architecture and design. But today, IT and audio/visual needs take up nearly 25% of the total build-out costs for offices, compared to just 7% ten years ago.

Modern offices are using cutting edge IT innovation to transform the workspace into a tech-enabled hub. But rather than pushing employees to adopt complex technologies, businesses are selecting software and apps based on ease of use. The ultimate goal is for employees to focus more on results and strategy, and less on challenging interfaces.

To continue to bridge the gap between tech developments and user adoption, companies are quickly implementing more advanced infrastructure, like cloud computing. A wireless access system enabled throughout the property is now a must-have, so employees have on-the-go access to files as they change locations throughout the day.

Building Out for a Millennial Workforce

New research shows that nearly one in three millennials prioritize device and social media flexibility and work mobility over salary when accepting a job offer. Because much of the incoming and current workforce is made up of millennials, employers and building owners will need to adjust workflow to better align with their preferences.

Millennials overtook the workforce as the majority in 2015. This generation is known for adapting quickly to change—particularly with technology—and grew up using the friendly interfaces of mobile apps. To attract and retain these young professionals, companies are offering up tech capabilities that meet their demands of flexible hours and working off-site.

To account for this change and accommodate the multiple generations in the workplace, 70% of companies see providing more mobile support to their employees in the next year as a high or even critical priority.

IT, a once behind-the-scenes operation, is now a top concern for companies as they build out new, innovative infrastructure to accommodate employee needs. In the coming years, more and more businesses will fully integrate IT and architecture functions within purposeful office design.

5 Must-Have Components of a Tech-Enabled Workplace

In order to truly label your space as tech-enabled, there are a number of factors to consider.

1. A Mix of Infrastructure: While it may seem easy to allocate a number of laptops to each meeting room, companies need to take a holistic approach when implementing new infrastructure. This means including the necessary software to run and test new technology, as well as an even mix of both on- and off-site solutions.

2. Access Devices: Once the proper infrastructure is in place, office managers must offer a variety of access devices. These include computers and laptops, printers, desk telephones, company mobile phones and more.

3. Increased Mobility: Office managers should also take into account how their employees work, whether being stationed at a desktop computer, or moving around throughout the day. New research has shown that flexibility within an office is a key factor in attracting (and retaining) top talent. To keep up with this trend, companies should customize office space that enables mobility from room to room or remote work.

4. Business Apps: To maximize workflow and productivity within the office, consider the use of business apps, or third-party software. By integrating industry-specific software into your own technology, businesses are able to increase efficiency.

5. Enhanced Security: When all is said and done, one of the most critical aspects of a tech-enabled office is security. While mapping out infrastructure and devices, businesses should put just as much focus on cybersecurity software to protect company and client data. These solutions may include backups, data making platforms and more.

For companies to capitalize on the benefits of a tech-enabled workspace, they need to be equipped with the necessary infrastructure, hardware and training. By implementing technologies that align with company goals, businesses can boost productivity, and empower employees to deliver their best work.

To read more on the Tech-Enabled Workplace, download JLL’s full report.

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About the Author

daveDave is an Executive Vice President and Co-Market Lead in the Detroit office. He started with The Staubach Company in 2002 prior to joining JLL through the Staubach merger. Dave specializes in acquisitions and dispositions of office and industrial properties by utilizing a diverse educational and professional background. He utilizes an assertive, results-driven approach to optimize the planning and implementation of real estate solutions for his clients.

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