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Top 5 workspace trends for 2021

Today, we see a seismic shift in the world of work. While remote working became a temporary norm for many organisations during the pandemic, plenty have recognised the merits of this enforced flexibility.

Now, the choice is to voluntarily accept the change.

At the forefront of this wave, JustCo has enabled corporations to scale with private suites and coworking spaces. In Singapore, the increasing number of queries for flexible solutions like hot desking indicate that enterprises want to draw on the benefits of contemporary workspaces by adopting a more cost-effective real estate solution – the ‘core-and-flex’ model. On top of reducing operational expenditures, it fosters a sense of independence and autonomy among employees who have the freedom to choose where they wish to work. Over at Tokyo, for instance, hot desks at smaller coworking spaces have become popular where employees work without the supervision of a manager.

While employees have shown preferences for greater flexibility, it can only be achieved when employers accept workplace changes. When set against the backdrop of impending uncertainties, this discourse becomes more pertinent, which renders the need for enterprises to strategise for cost-effectiveness. We see how this plays out for the near future as we study in detail the top workspace trends to anticipate in 2021.

1. Increasing demand for Work-from-Anywhere

Remote working will last well beyond the ongoing pandemic, a sentiment expressed by 94% of corporate real estate professionals in a Corenet Global Survey. This indicates that work will continue to take place away from the office, albeit beyond the home – a reality businesses will operate in not just next year, but those to come.

Corporations can meet the demand for Work-from-Anywhere with ‘Flex’ workspaces beyond co-sharing office spaces, such as SWITCH, a new space-as-a-service solution that makes working anywhere possible. Offering on-demand spaces for focus work, these booths located across neighbouhood shopping malls and commercial buildings are significant to employees who choose not to or are unable to work from home.

2. Shrinking footprint of ‘Core’, more demand for ‘Flex’

While Work-from-Anywhere delivers an excellent solution for employees preferring more flexibility, it also complements business strategies that put more emphasis on scalability, owing to increased uncertainties like those the pandemic revealed. Take Fujitsu as an example. The Japanese IT will reduce its office space by 50% by 2023, with aims to adopt flexible workspaces to support remote work. We can expect more to do the same.

What makes this better? A combination of different ‘Flex’ spaces. From satellite offices to meeting rooms on-demand, the list is endless. JustCo’s Australian partners leverage the flexibility JustCo’s plans provide – meeting rooms, event spaces and enterprise suites are leased periodically on a casual basis to bring teams together for daily work, meetings, collaborations and team bonding.

By rightsizing, corporations will not need additional cash flow to accommodate spatial requirements in traditional offices even as teams grow, so more resources can be channelled towards business productivity. This is critical when operating in volatile economic conditions.

3. ‘Core’ will serve more as a space for relationship-building

The headquarters, which these downsized ‘core’ offices refer to, will not just be a workspace but more so an avenue for relationship-building. Its role is to create meaningful experiences for employees to drive innovation, collaboration and stronger connections among co-workers, resulting in a happier and more productive workforce. Ensuring a balance is key – remote workers can continue to enjoy the flexibility on a regular basis, while strengthening solidarity as a company when they drop by from time to time.

4. More space required for social distancing

Even as the pandemic gradually phases out, social distancing measures will remain as a precaution – businesses must abide by the laws without allowing them to come in the way of work. Back in Australia, more businesses are taking up larger spaces in our coworking offices to accommodate the same number of employees so they can maintain a safe distance among themselves. These flexible offices will continue to serve as leverage even to those organisations that have yet to explore downsizing their traditional offices but need additional spaces for their employees who cannot work at home.

5. Increasing prevalence of tech-infused spaces

As the smart nation narrative expands across the globe, workspaces will increasingly adopt effective technologies to improve their functionality. For instance, JustCo’s first smart centre at The Centrepoint offer card-free access with facial recognition turnstiles that also ensure members are wearing face masks upon entry, enhancing both security and safety of the workspace. Complementing this is SixSense, a spatial analytics technology by REInvent, Asia’s first PropTech Innovation Studio, that monitors real-time occupancy levels and social distancing. The detailed analysis across per square foot not only provides JustCo insights into spatial behaviours for improved office design planning but also useful information for enterprises that need to make better decisions on rightsizing. SWITCH Enterprise portal allows employers to study employees’ use of the space by tracking their choice of location, clock-in time, duration of stay and other relevant data, and then scale appropriately for more productive outcomes.

From the expanding choices of workspaces to the evolving functions of today’s traditional offices and the role technology plays in creating more effective work environments, the trends shine an unforgiving light on the future of work – it is no longer ‘future’ as we are living it at present. The workplace is revolutionising rapidly as are employees’ needs and wants- adapting for a change is the only way forward.

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