Workplaces? Young want 'places to work'

Workplaces with row of desks as we know them today will eventually become redundant, says research from real estate firm CBRE.

Shifts in attitudes towards work will be accompanied by significant changes in the way workplaces are planned - in particular, younger employees say they will need to support staff health and well-being, said the report, which was released last October.

It interviewed 220 experts, business leaders and young people from the Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America, and focused on a vision of the workplace in 2030.

Young people said they envisioned the workplace of the future as one with "a wide variety of quiet retreat and collaborative settings", and the flexibility to choose a setting that best suited their work at that particular moment.

This is called activity-based working, which is about "places to work" rather than "work places".

According to the report, young workers in Singapore see the future workplace "more like a shopping mall", where employees will be able to "pick and choose places (to work) that represent not only functionally what you want to do, but also that represent what kind of person you are".

As people get more accustomed to working in multiple places within the office, they will also feel more freedom to work that way outside the corporate workplace, the report noted.

There are already an increasing number of knowledge workers who now work in coffee shops and other public places, as well as in co-working spaces.

"Corporations will need to decide to what degree they will let their staff work outside the corporate 'boundary' in these places, or alternatively to what degree these models need to be replicated within their own workplaces," CBRE said.

Chia Yan Min

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2015, with the headline 'Workplaces? Young want 'places to work''. Print Edition | Subscribe