The future is looking increasingly complicated for landlords, developers, architects, employers, and employees. We need innovative thought leaders working together to determine what the future of “work” will look like, and that is exactly what Mark Arizmendi of Northwestern Capital Partners, Dylan Jones of Gensler, and Compie Newman of CBRE have set out to do. Semi-monthly, they convene a group of like-minded and accomplished professionals who are working together to help create what a new working ‘normal’ workplace might entail. The group includes some of the country’s best managed and largest commercial real estate developers, landlords, mobility experts, technology developers, venture capitalists, and urban designers that discuss and collaborate at these meetings to address the challenges facing a post-COVID world.
Companies and their employees have been able to successfully transition to working from home, and although this has been important for reducing the spread of COVID-19, many people find working from home, not ideal. Members of the group have shared their research which shows employees are missing the community of co-workers and have too many distractions at home. So, the big questions are: what will working look like? How can companies facilitate safety but preserve community?
The group has discussed many possible scenarios from “work closer to home” and smaller suburban campuses to rotating which employees are in the office each day. Each scenario is discussed to determine how technology and mobility can play a role in the transition. Several companies that are represented in the group already have technologies that help employees interact with their buildings in smarter ways, and we believe that in a post-COVID world, we’ll see these technologies adopted quickly and more broadly, especially as features are added to help reduce contact and keep users safe.
Offices in large cities will need to address the issue of public transit as people head back to work. CDC guidelines are encouraging single passenger driving, and people may avoid public transportation for a while. Mobility technologies will have to be implemented to ensure that the increase in traffic can be handled as well as ensuring people have places to park safely.
Although many scenarios are possible, there is not going to be a “one size fits all” solution and a co-creation is imperative. That is why the discussions we are having are important to share different approaches and viewpoints, as we are building the community – a community that will be able to help address these issues and create a network for member companies to assist their clients with the best possible urban designs, building development, and technologies so we can all get back to work, together.