June 26, 2014, Beijing – CBRE today
launches a special report: Workplace Strategy—Why One Size Does Not Fit All.
The report refers to the way that work places are structured to fit with a
company’s objectives, both in terms of employee engagement and in terms of
managing costs. This can involve strategies such as hot desking and
collaborative working environments.
In recent years—particularly since the
onset of the global financial downturn in 2008—it has become critical for
businesses to reduce operational and real estate expenditure and this has
created the momentum to overcome other elements of resistance to
non-traditional solutions, while rapid advances in mobile and information
technology are making new options available.
Key highlights of the report include:
Asia Pacific set to capitalize on workplace strategy initiatives having already driven down costs and densities to maximum potential;
Region’s youthful demographic profile conducive to adoption of new workplace strategies;
Asia Pacific may be on the verge of transformation, due to a confluence of factors;
Workplace strategy often promotes more sustainable and ‘greener’ business practices by helping to lower Greenhouse Gas (GHS) emissions due to smaller real estate footprint, operations and business travel.
Asia Pacific: on Verge of Transformation
In Asia Pacific several factors have
converged over the past two years to create what many regard as an ideal
environment for the successful implementation of workplace strategy. Companies
in the region have already driven down costs and densities to maximum potential
and reduced space usage, and are tied to comparatively short leases compared to
firms outside of Asia Pacific. As they come under further pressure to make
additional savings and implement changes, many are looking toward more
cutting-edge initiatives—including alternative workplace strategy—to further
drive down spending on real estate related expenses.
“Asia Pacific’s combination of youth,
mobility and adoption of new technology presents a significant opportunity.
Thinking around workplace strategy has traditionally been led by companies in
the West, particularly by multinational consulting and technology firms which
first embraced alternative workplace strategy principles in the 1990s. However,
Asia Pacific companies are now beginning to break though. Leading Chinese and
Japanese companies are already looking at introducing workplace strategy
processes and practices,” says Peter Andrew, Director, Workplace Strategies
Asia at CBRE.
Although efficiency is the main driver at
their early stage of adoption in Asia Pacific, companies are now increasingly
creating workplace strategies that align with broader business objectives and
strategies to drive a wider agenda of increased employee engagement, retention
and motivation of talent, business productivity and broader cultural change.
“We are on the verge of a transformation in
the nature of work and workplace in Asia Pacific. Carefully considered and well
executed workplace strategy is another tool in the leadership kitbag to create
and maintain competitive advantage,” says Mr Andrew.
Whilst factors in Asia Pacific are
extremely positive for workplace strategy, there are challenges. The report
finds that there remains a significant lack of understanding around the
practice, partly because of the lack of expertise within corporations and
suppliers compared with the vast size of the region. Meanwhile, leaders in the
region are unaware of, or misunderstand, the process of developing a workplace
strategy, and fear ill-considered ‘fad’ ideas. Moreover, some well-meaning real
estate practitioners can misunderstand key concepts and spread misconceptions.
“There is a misconception that workplace
strategy is purely about the physical office space. This often leads some
companies to focus purely on the design, layout and operation of their office
whilst ignoring behavior and culture. A focus purely on efficiency can be
destructive,” says Hedy Lee, Associate Director, Asia Workplace Strategy,
Other challenges include the enormous size
of markets such as China and India. One or two high profile workplace strategy
projects can have a big impact in a small market and encourage other companies
to follow, but this is not always easy in such large and diverse countries.
Engaging with employees can also prove to be a challenge. In many countries
within the region it goes against cultural norms for staff, particularly those
at a more junior level, to speak up and tell their superiors that they want
change. At the same time, however, the report found that it is often
comparatively easier to implement change in this region once a decision has
been made, given the strong command and control culture that exists in a number
About CBRE Group, Inc.
CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (in terms of 2014 revenue). The Company has more than 70,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate owners, investors and occupiers through more than 400 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers strategic advice and execution for property sales and leasing; corporate services; property, facilities and project management; mortgage banking; appraisal and valuation; development services; investment management; and research and consulting. Please visit our website at www.cbre.com.