Workforces are more self-aware, politically-motivated and socially concerned than ever before. It’s making competition for top talent a fiercer battle, with employees and candidates in the driving seat when it comes to choosing their next workplace.

So, what do those shaping and investing into post-pandemic offices need to prioritize? What decisions and changes need to be made to ensure the workplace offers an engaging, motivating and safe environment that makes employees feel valued, and which also stands out from the crowd?

These are just some of the questions tackled in our latest research in partnership with CoreNet Global. Three core themes emerged that the Corporate Real Estate community (CREs) believe will reshape the workplaces of the future. Download the report here and see what it means for your organization.

Here are the key insights and takeaways from our study conducted by CoreNet Global with 140 employees of large multinational firms headquartered in the Americas, APAC and EMEA:

The ‘no more’ flexibility fear factor

Corporate real estate professionals surmise that businesses’ biggest hurdle in 2022 is bringing employees back to the office without feeling resentful or enforced. 

Employees are scared of losing the flex they’ve come to enjoy. But the reluctance to give up the obvious home office perks and endure a busy commute is less about lifestyle and more about losing control. People are loathed to give up their say on where, when and how they work, yet the majority of employers are failing to engage with their workforce on any level. 

Of those who do want to return to the office for at least some of the week, the benefits were the chance to collaborate with colleagues (66%), to socialize with others (56%) and to attend meetings in person (53%). So as some major alignment issues begin brewing in the workplace, employers will have to ensure they implement patterns of working that are mutually beneficial, and which ensure they don’t lose top talent to more flexible competitors.

All together now

‘Workplace destination’ is the new buzz phrase and it’s the role of the reflective office to give people a reason to come into the office and to be part of something. 

Spaces designed with interaction in-mind will have the greatest marketability and make the most difference to the triple bottom line. Understanding people’s motivation (and reticence) in making the return must inform why and how offices should change to fulfil this warm and fuzzy idea of workplaces as ‘happening’ social hubs.  

While opportunities to collaborate and socialize with colleagues have long been recognized as the prime reason to return to the office, recent findings show that employees are beginning to acknowledge the positive effect that in-person working can have on team learning and development. 

Healthier, happier, high performing teams crave community and connection - to learn, to share, support and thrive together.


Offices allow people to access tangible resources in a specialized work area. Culture is built around engagement, inclusion and trust and the highest performing, cohesive teams work best face-to-face. The future office has to incorporate flexible work policies and spaces.
Dr. Mike O’Neill, Founder and CEO, HumanSpace Solutions. Tweet this

Building back, better

Wellbeing must come first. Providing people with a carefully considered setting is important yet often overlooked in supporting optimum mental, physical and emotional health. However, while there is now greater recognition of the importance of creating more flexible and collaborative spaces, almost half of CRE professionals are concerned about the amount of disruption and investment required to reconfigure spaces. 

Regardless of the shape of the future office, location remains key with the study showing that having amenities within easy reach, access to outdoor space and well connected districts on the periphery of cities are all key. 

What is clear to see, is that end-user organizations now appreciate that to be sustainable means putting wellbeing first. Where previously a preoccupation with carbon footprint meant organizations downplayed the importance of health and wellbeing and the impact of people’s surroundings on their mental, physical and emotional self. Now, there is a more holistic appreciation of what is good for people is good for the planet. 

Pre-pandemic, we were living in an employer’s market. Today, if your business isn’t moving fast enough to adapt to the priorities of a workforce that’s faced such a transformative era, you risk being on the back foot when it comes to securing the talent your business needs to move forward. To learn about the key trends shaping workplace design across the globe, download our latest report here.


Get your copy now Rethinking the 'Reflective' Office
Leslie Thompson Director of Workplace Strategy, Tarkett Full bio and articles


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