The future of commercial real estate consists of much more than delivering four walls to clients. It is about fostering meaningful interactions, collaboration, and productivity with customers, and providing this will require a seamless integration between physical environments and digital channels.

In the wake of the pandemic, companies are reimagining the workplace infrastructure as social distancing, and the emergence of contactless interaction has amplified the significance of digital integration within commercial real estate. For instance, many organizations are equipping their infrastructure to enable the company to respond quickly to the crisis. CRE enterprises are also introducing new technologies for monitoring energy efficiency and environmental conditions to ensure a healthy and safe workplace, primarily due to the recent global crisis.


The Evolution of the Workspace Over the Years

Not long ago, an office would consist of a team of employees standing around a desk or behind a legacy system, completing their daily tasks. But over time, as management practice and technologies have evolved, so has workspace infrastructure. Since flexible working has become more widespread since the pandemic, employers are giving the liberty to their employees to choose when, where, and how to work.

Employees today place a much higher priority on work-life balance than in the past. To build a motivated and productive team, employers must acknowledge the needs of their employees. Hence, organizations take note of employee interests and incorporate them into workplace design to positively influence people’s spirits and productivity.


The Future of Office Space: the Shift and Various Aadoptions

With a growing number of businesses reopening worldwide, organizations are focused on ensuring safety for the employees and reducing their fears. CRE firms are redesigning offices as “community hubs” with breakout spaces instead of rows of desks to provide employees with a resilient and flexible office space. As the future of the workplace unfolds, the traditional, practical office space has to transform to accommodate social interaction, collaboration, and relationship-building, emphasizing technology and areas that encourage contactless interaction.

Organizations need to oversee the employees' return to the office by maintaining social distance through their office hours and seating arrangements and, at the same time, ensuring workplace hygiene and maintaining adequate airflow inside the office space. CRE firms are deploying healthcare facilities to accompany the revamped workspaces by introducing touchless fixtures, such as door sensors, automatic faucets, soap dispensers, and voice-control elevators developed to ensure employee safety.


New Normal for the Businesses/Workspace and how is CRE Evolving with the Same

The pandemic has affected all the peripherals of real estate by making the CRE enterprises reimagine their design, products, goals, and asset sustainability. To adapt to the changing norms and regulations, organizations need to rethink and alter their strategies today. CRE companies offer enhanced ‘customer experience’ and emphasize transparency beyond ‘location’ and ‘value proposition.’

The implementation of contactless interactions combined with social distancing has increased the significance of technology in the CRE industry. Using business strategies powered by robust data and analytics, companies can provide customized solutions and transform the industry while keeping the competition ambitious.

Many CRE enterprises have also started investing in warehousing, logistics, and data centres, ever since the pandemic.


Conclusion: How will this New Normal Shift Affect the Configuration of Office Space in the Future?

As employees return to the office in the aftermath of the pandemic, office space has to transform to ensure employee safety, bringing the end of the open office trend that offered slight separation between employees. Physical distancing would be the key to de-densify the "office crowd" as seating arrangements of the employees would be required to maintain distance. COVID-19 has accelerated the digital transformation in the CRE industry by making its products and solutions more tangible and offering access to critical information regardless of time and location. Technology-driven solutions with heightened clarity and speed have ushered in a new CRE age that has facilitated new investments that was underutilized till now.