The pandemic forced organizations around the globe to the biggest work from home experiment the world of work has seen. The sudden transition to work from home/remote working changed the way people work, collaborate, and interact with each other overnight, changing work dynamics and ushering in a new era – the rise of a worker centric workplace.
Jagvinder Pinny Mann comes with an extensive experience of over 24 years, specializing in Real Estate Strategy, Facility Management, Projects Management and Interior design. She has delivered success for blue chip companies, likes of Microsoft, GE, Bank of America, Cadence Design System, Bharti Enterprise and Microsoft. Her strengths lie in evaluating Real Estate and Market Analysis to achieve the best for organizations.

Emphasizing on the need to be agile, Microsoft India, Sr Portfolio Manager, Jagvinder Mann said that going ahead it is crucial for CRE to evolve with the changing  trends and developments. In an interview with Awfis, she shares some of her insights regarding the current trends shaping  the commercial real estate. Excerpts:

How has shifting workplace preferences affected the need for office space or traditional work environments?

While remote working has its own set of pros, (flexibility and agility), it also comes with a lot of challenges with many employees wanting the need for human connection and socialisation. Traditional offices are still important for shaping the employee performance and experience as these workplaces have been known to increase the employees’ teamwork skills, focus and overall well-being. And with several companies shifting to a worker centric rather work centric workplaces, the demand will increase for office spaces/physical environments that provide opportunities for employees to meet, socialise and collaborate, even if it is for 2-3 days a week. Traditional offices are here to stay but the definition and purpose of it has changed with evolving times.

With occupiers/companies looking out for office space solutions that ensure workforce’s health and flexibility, what will be its impact on the CRE industry?

The CRE industry will have to be attentive to companies searching for offices that prioritise health and flexibility. The new workplace which will be more worker centric is bound to prioritise aspects like ergonomic workspaces, safety, air quality and hygiene. The industry needs to understand the companies and their need to improve employee’ s stress and health levels and adapt accordingly. For this, upcoming office spaces/ Buildings need to be upgraded in a way that it fits in to the overall wellness ecosystem. The office spaces should be designed in a way that it reduces the risk of infectious diseases, ensuring the health and wellbeing of employees. This is where the CRE industry needs to add value – they will have to come up with flexible layouts that incorporates touchless building technology and spaces that can facilitate social distancing.

With gradual reopening of offices, how important is the shift to modern technologies in the new workplace to maintain employee hygiene and health?

As companies welcome back their employees, the spotlight is again on employee health and the need for stricter, safety measures. For organisations, it is imperative to adopt modern technologies that enable staff to avoid contact with used surfaces such as meeting room booking screen, lift buttons, light switches and much more. It has become important to replace such common contact points with touch free options that will minimise the risk of the virus if it lingers. This will not only protect the employees and staff but also potentially reduce the no: of surfaces that need to be cleaned. Additionally, facial recognition is another touch free option that is now being increasingly adopted by several companies across the globe. Employee safety is paramount and digital transformation needs to be embraced by companies by investing in technologies that would make the workforce feel safe and secure in the workplace when they return.

 Concepts like hybrid workplace and distributed workforce is gaining momentum with many companies expected to embrace them in the coming years. In your opinion how can corporate real estate teams develop a thoughtful and effective hybrid workplace plan?

The uncertainties posed by the pandemic has pushed several organisations to reinvent their workplace strategies and to map out what their future looks like. As a result, many companies are likely to adopt the hybrid work model where the workforce alternates seamlessly between work from home and in premises work – frequenting offices for in person meetings and brainstorming. This had made it important for corporate real estate teams to carefully evaluate the measures that need to be implemented to support a hybrid workplace model. This varies from companies to companies as per their requirements and they need to redesign their strategies and real estate portfolio around the new office space needs. For retaining/attracting talent and for overall organizational resiliency, corporate real estate teams need to dedicate office spaces that would not only enhance productivity also help in retaining/attracting new talent.


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