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If you think this is just another podcast, think again. We are the heart and soul of crucial conversations focused on helping you reimagine your tomorrow and exploring the convergence of people, technology and business. Geeks Geezers Googlization is hosted by Ira S Wolfe.

Apr 26, 2023

Looking for ways to get your employees to want to return to the office?

On this episode of Geeks Geezers Googlization, the focus is on where and how people work, and the importance of flexibility in workspace design. Our guest, Bryan Berthold from Cushman and Wakefield, discusses an intriguing and fascinating metric for measuring employee experience: experience per square foot. He shares insights from the company’s proprietary research that shows workers prioritize flexibility in areas such as time, days worked, and tasks performed, and how this affects productivity and engagement. They also cover the current state of the workplace ecosystem, with virtual work, flex space, and remote working from home. According to Berthold, the clock is ticking on the next domino falling regarding the future of work, and there is an immediate need for fresh thinking and adjustments to local tax policy, real estate strategy, and workspace design. "experience per square foot" that uses employee sentiment to measure the experience of people.

Here are some questions Bryan answered about the future of commercial real estate and employee experience during the conversation:

1. What are some of the biggest challenges organizations face in the current work environment?

Answer: The biggest challenge is making the experience of returning to the office not feel suboptimal. This requires better technology, improved desk reservations, and buildings that function more like community centers to help people feel comfortable and productive.

2. What are some of the key findings of the experience per square foot survey measuring people's experience of their work environment?

Answer: The survey measures five components of the work environment - productivity, collaboration, well-being, community, and continuous learning. It helps companies identify the important factors that contribute to their employee's work experience and provides data on what drives those five experience metrics.

4. What percentage of people in the US want to work remotely, and why?

Answer: 53% of people in the US still want to work remotely, with the main reason being to avoid the commute (70%).

5. What are the main reasons people want to come into the office?

Answer: The main reasons are community and connection, such as socializing, collaborating, and learning from leaders or mentors. Serendipitous conversations and exposure to different groups are also mentioned as benefits of being in the office.

6. Why is flexibility important in the future of work, and how does it affect productivity and engagement?

Answer: A survey by Quantum Workplace found that workers prioritize flexibility in areas such as time, days worked, and tasks performed, rather than finding the power to work remotely. Autonomy and flexibility are emphasized, with a significant 56% drop in experience for those who feel they lack those choices.

7. How has the pandemic affected productivity and work-life balance?

Answer: Productivity has remained constant, but two-thirds of employees report working more hours, leading to a work-life balance problem.

8. What is the "experience per square foot" product, and how does it measure employee sentiment?

Answer: "Experience per square foot" is a product developed by the guest that uses employee sentiment to measure the experience of people, not just the physical things they are given.

9. What is the future of physical workspaces, and how are companies preparing for it?

Answer: By 2030, roughly one-third of buildings are prepared for the future of work, while one-third need upgrades, and a third are obsolete and need complete renovation.