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The Changing Nature of the Office

March 01, 2017 | John Salustri

For those of you who manage commercial space—or for that matter, those of you with employees—you may have noticed the world is shifting beneath your feet. If you haven’t, you will. We have in this space chronicled some of the changes taking place in the office market, due to such things as technology and social drivers. And now a new Gallup report confirms many of those watershed upheavals.

Here’s just a sampling: “As more people work away from the office,” the report states, “organizations recognize their opportunity to cut costs by minimizing real estate. They are moving to open and hybrid floor plans that allow more people to coexist in less space. But tearing down walls and taking away assigned workspaces isn't just about the expense. Organizations have a pressing need to become more agile and collaborative. They are exploring new ways to encourage people to talk to each other and move more quickly, whether that's putting them in the same space or structuring teams that cut across functions, reporting lines and geographies.”

In the past, workers were expected to take the job that was offered to them and accepted the residuals, such as culture and corporate ethos.

Well, say goodbye to that. “Most workers, many of whom are millennials, approach a role and a company with a highly defined set of expectations,” says Gallup. “They want their work to have meaning and purpose. They want to use their talents and strengths to do what they do best every day. They want to learn and develop. They want their job to fit their life.”

Most of us, regardless of what generation we belong to, have always wanted our jobs to have meaning and purpose. We always try to use our talents and strengths to do our best every day. And we still want to learn and grow. What seems to be shifting is in that last sentence, “They want their job to fit their life.” Previously, companies expected their employees to shape their lives around the job, because that was how things were done.

The report goes on to say that this pick-and-choose attitude among potential employees puts pressure on organizations to hone their recruitment and retention skills. This is especially true, since, according to the report, only one-third of workers “are engaged in their work and workplace.” This, it concludes, is because companies “are simply not giving them compelling reasons to stay.”

You may or may not like the direction the relationship between worker and organization is taking. The final word, as Gallup says, is: adapt. “Organizations have nowhere to hide,” the report states. “They have to adapt to the needs of the modern workforce, or they will find themselves struggling to attract and keep great employees and therefore customers.”

Welcome to the newest normal.

You may read the full report here.

About the Author
John Salustri is editor-in-chief of Salustri Content Solutions, Inc., a consultancy focused on enhancing the web and print content of clients around the nation. He is a regular contributor to JPM Magazine and a frequent blogger for IREM’s website. Prior to launching SCS, John was founding editor of, the industry’s premier real estate news website, where he managed the daily output of 25 international reporters, and prior to that, he was editor of Real Estate Forum Magazine. John is a four-time winner of the National Association of Real Estate Editors’ Award for Excellence in Journalism.

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