Planning for Future Office Space Needs in the Face of Changing Workforce Demographics

The current multi-generational workforce that comprises the Baby Boomers and the younger generations (X, Millennials, and Z) represents a significant and high-speed evolution of the workplace. Over the next five to seven years, the workforce is facing a shortage of experienced talent as Boomers retire en masse, and an influx of young employees who possess vastly different work styles, expectations and preferences enter the workforce.

Companies are racing to catch up in order to recruit and retain the best of the best within these new groups. In addition to the responsibilities that HR departments have for understanding the wide range of demographics and generational interests, and adjusting corporate policies in response, real estate professionals must also adapt to the changing workforce.

This demographic workforce transition directly impacts real estate planning and management today and into the future. Office space requirements must reflect the ongoing shifts in workforce demographics, culture and workstyles to enable everyone to work well together and be productive within the same space. Commercial real estate teams are addressing these challenges with:

  • Shorter lease terms to enable greater flexibility
  • Smaller square footage / greater density (or similar square footage but dispersed in different types of spaces)
  • Increased portfolio diversity (leased, owned, serviced)
  • Changing location priorities
  • Space planning that supports flexibility, collaboration, and activity-based working