Together, Millennials and today’s technology are reshaping and humanizing tomorrow’s world of work.

With 10,000-12,000 Baby Boomers retiring daily, workforce demographics are rapidly changing. By 2025, Millennials will represent 75 percent of the workforce. While it’s counter-intuitive, there’s a craving for human-friendly spaces amidst the digitization of work and unprecedented advances in workplace technology—and the demands are coming largely from Millennials. The following are five tech-driven trends illustrating how organizations are upping their workplace game to win the war for talent.

Smarter buildings for digital workers

For years, smart, computer-controlled systems have reduced building energy usage, and allowed individuals to customize their surroundings while at work. Today’s Digital Drive and Internet-connected systems, wireless sensors and “machine-to-machine” (M2M) communications, buildings are becoming more intelligent and “smarter.”

Additionally, smart buildings are equipped to provide better indoor air quality and controls that not only improve a company’s sustainability contributions, but also foster employee health, wellness and productivity. Taken a step further, personalized temperature and lighting controls, energy provision management and digital wayfinding (using sensors to find desk space), give employees more control over their environment. But, beyond simply providing the latest gadgets, companies will embed technology into the fiber of their buildings enabling them to marry usage data with information about work habits and then use this insight to facilitate interactions and collaboration between colleagues.

Productivity is further enhanced through the use of facility management mobile apps that provide a “frictionless” and paperless way for employees to experience work. The emergence of the digital ecosystem of devices, connectivity and data will transform the products, services and business models of all firms. The competition for talent – especially digital talent – will grow more intense. Firms will develop strategies to appeal to digital natives (early adopters of technology) and dependents (those born in the Internet age), which will impact their workplace and real estate strategies.

While it’s counter-intuitive, there’s a craving for human-friendly spaces amidst the digitization of work and unprecedented advances in workplace technology.Click To Tweet

Innovative amenities and workspaces for a productive, liquid workforce

The one-size-fits-all model is no longer relevant as the workplace evolves to become more mobile, flexible and personalized. Responding to the popularity of mobile working and the growing “liquid workforce” of on-demand workers, some companies are providing networks of workplaces in addition to assigned corporate desks. The goal is to ensure that workers have secure, reliable access to corporate data and resources regardless of location, be it a corporate co-working space, an airport lounge, or a coffee shop.

To attract and engage younger talent, some companies are creating high-quality experiential workplaces involving multimedia displays and even virtual or augmented reality tools. Machines already are becoming part of the workplace and increasingly will augment, support and complement human labor, contributing to both the human and enterprise experience. A network of liquid spaces will develop around core space, serving corporates, start-ups, microbusinesses and freelancers.

Humanizing the workplace

Many in today’s workforce expect hyper-personalized employee services and work environments. Advanced smart building technologies empower employees to customize workspaces to their own needs and preferences, managing temperature, lighting and even the background music. For companies at the forefront of workplace technological advances, the intersection of smart building technologies, mobile apps and automated facility management tools makes it possible to offer advanced amenities and workplace services to employees at a previously impossible level.

Companies also are creating workplaces that support their unique corporate culture. Creating spaces such as club rooms, meeting rooms of varying sizes and lounges alongside traditional individual desks help create flexibility and, most important, choice for employees, boosting talent recruitment and retention. Offices are becoming destinations where employees, contingent workers and partners come together to create new products, services and ideas.

A network of liquid spaces will develop around core space, serving corporates, start-ups, microbusinesses and freelancers.Click To Tweet

Unlocking the power of CRE data

The digital revolution is transforming corporate real estate globally. Once known as a tech-resistant industry, today commercial real estate (CRE) tech has become a hot specialized sector. Buildings and the technology that lies within them have become symbiotic, requiring real estate executives (clients and service providers alike) to become technology experts, as well as leaders in property strategies. Integrated corporate real estate management systems can create a robust data set that informs location strategies and more accurate occupancy planning.

Designing for the innovation mandate

Today’s companies must use every tool, including workplace and real estate strategies, to support their professionals in sourcing, testing and bringing new ideas to market. According to Gensler research and JLL’s Workplace Reworked report, employees at the most innovative companies benefit from better-designed and more functional workspaces, with adjustable features, collaboration areas, a variety of workspaces, noise management and access to outdoor areas. Making the right technology decisions—and finding the talent to use it—requires a certain level of investment and resources to drive a culture of innovation forward, with recognition and rewards that celebrate the best new ideas.

As the workplace continues to gain importance in the war for talent, its continued evolution is essential for engaging next-generation talent. Within the next 10 years, the office could be unrecognizable, offering more agility, flexibility and connectivity that support new ways of working, playing and living. Corporates will have streamlined their portfolios into strategic locations supplemented by space to support innovation. While technology will become far more embedded into workplaces. Optimal connectivity will become a key competitive advantage.

Tom Carroll and Dr. Marie Puybaraud


Tom Carroll is Director – EMEA & UK Corporate Occupier Research at JLL. Dr. Marie Puybaraud is Global and EMEA Workplace Strategy Lead at JLL.