Eight Emerging Workplace Trends

CoreNet Global, an association of corporate real estate (CRE) and workplace professionals, recently revealed the results from its Corporate Real Estate 2020 transformational research initiative.

The initiative delved into delved into eight industry domains, including: Enterprise Leadership; Location Strategy and the Role of Place; Portfolio Optimization and Asset Management; Service Delivery and Outsourcing; Sustainability; Technology Tools; Workplace; and Partnering with Key Support Functions.

The year long project brought together hundreds of CRE global thought leaders to analyze and parse the industry’s current and future state, and includes interviews with more than 150 CRE executives, service providers, and economic developers. Overall, Corporate Real Estate 2020 examines a wide range of external and macro-economic, societal, political and other influences, triangulating these drivers against trends affecting the globally networked enterprise and CRE itself.

Each team focused its research on six to eight bold statements, and eight that stand out are:

Location Strategy: There will be a re-emergence of manufacturing in developed countries and regions such as the U.S. and Western Europe with smaller regional facilities, and South America and Africa will be the new hotspots for business process outsourcing (BPO) and manufacturing activity.

Sustainability: Buildings, sometimes connected by micro grids, will be both consumers and producers of energy. Evolution in energy storage will impact building operations, transportation, and planning.

Partnering with Key Support Functions: Formation of a “Super Nucleus,” the combination of a corporate entity including components such as CRE, IT, Finance, Purchasing, Legal, etc., in a company specific context. High performance companies will know how to bring these functions together on a day-to-day and strategic basis. This function will not be “one-size-fits-all” and will vary depending on a company’s organizational structure, culture, and industry sector.

Workplace: CRE executives will evolve to “Experience Managers,” or plan administrators, offering employees an a la carte workplace experience with a menu of services, location and support.

Technology Tools: Intuitive environmental sensing provides emotional intelligence cues leading to reduced stress and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of space use and communication in the workforce (using technology to sense temperature, lighting, sound, and other measurables in a room or facility – and to gauge the emotional state of its occupants).

Enterprise Leadership: Senior corporate real estate leaders will be able to measure the impact of workplace infrastructure on business units and the enterprise—a capability often referred to as the “Holy Grail” of the industry.

Portfolio Optimization: Organizations will recognize the potential detrimental impact of cost cutting on productivity, changing the conversation from cost containment to value creation.

Service Delivery and Outsourcing: Real estate business objectives and goals will become more integrated with procurement and, therefore, more sophisticated and complex.

Backing the effort are Pinnacle Sponsors AT&T, HOK, Johnson Controls, and Jones Lang LaSalle; Premiere Sponsor Cresa; and Leadership Sponsors Cushman & Wakefield, Steelcase, Cassidy Turley, Herman Miller, Regus and the County of San Bernardino, CA.

“Our member led research teams believe these Bold Statements present a vision that’s both realistic and achievable by 2020,” said Tim Venable, Vice President of Knowledge and Research for CoreNet Global. “But even if some of these bold predictions aren’t fully realized by then, Corporate Real Estate 2020 will help prepare our industry and profession for the challenges that lie ahead.”

Do you see any of these observations in your job? How are you handling them?


  1. I wonder how many years ago we wouldn’t have seen sustainability on the radar. It is great to see such value and prominence placed on it today across the commercial real estate industry.

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