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The property and real estate sector has undergone tremendous change over the past decade, with the evolution showing little sign of slowing. And a recent paper published by Deloitte has explored the likely shape of things to come.
Designing to promote wellness
Critical success factors in any new commercial development generally include cost, timely delivery, quality, energy efficiency, security, plus a whole host of secondary metrics. But forward-looking companies have recently added another - wellness of the workforce that operates within the building. There’s a great deal of evidence highlighting the profoundly negative effect that a poor-quality working environment can have on employees’ psychological and physiological health. And a growing number of employers are coming to recognise the link between staff wellness and productivity, which has prompted developers to explore a range of innovative ways to improve natural lighting, air quality and noise control.
Co-working in this sense refers to the practice of employees from different firms sharing office space and associated services and facilities, such as internet and telecommunications, printers and even furniture. The economic benefits are obvious – shared facilities means shared costs. Yet there are other advantages too, like greater operational flexibility and enhanced opportunities for productive collaboration. Co-working arrangements are increasingly popular with start-ups, small tech firms and creative freelancers who appreciate the benefits of working within a vibrant business environment.
But it’s not just “cool” new brands who are taking advantage of co-working opportunities – a growing number of established larger firms are beginning to follow their lead.
An evolution in commercial real estate
Rapid digital disruption is changing the way we work, the way we shop and the way we live, and this is changing the way real estate is used. Clerical jobs are being automated or performed remotely, impacting the demand for city centre commercial office space, and the growth in home working seems likely to cool the market even further. The growth in online shopping continues to have a huge impact on our high streets, dampening demand for retail space in towns across the UK, while even popular out-of-town retail parks are feeling the effects of the internet shopping revolution. So the next 20 years are likely to see a significant shift in the way commercial rental incomes are distributed across real estate market participants.
Fintech disrupting real estate
Financial technology has changed the banking sector beyond recognition, and fintech firms are now successfully disrupting the real estate industry by changing the way funding is acquired and how transactions take place. But traditional real estate firms shouldn’t view aggressive fintech start-ups as a threat – they should adopt and leverage those same technologies to diversify their own business strategies and drive operational efficiencies. Of course, this may require a shift in mindset, from a position of defending against aggressive competitors, to one of positive engagement and collaboration.
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