- New accounting standards coming into effect in 2019 will increase the adoption of flexible workspace solutions, starting 2018.
- Mental health in the workplace will take center stage in wellness programs.
- Artificial intelligence is poised to become the best workplace assistant for workers in 2018.
2017 marked a year of growth and maturity for the flexible workspace industry. We saw operators grow in existing and new markets, we saw greater consolidation, and we saw flexible workspaces become more widely adopted by businesses of all sizes. This will continue throughout 2018, but at a much larger scale.
As technology, the workforce, and consumer behavior evolve, so businesses need to evolve; including the workplace. The workplace is a key component of any business, and it can be an indicator of how resilient a business is, including its ability to embrace current trends and adapt as need be. Last year, 2017, showed that flexible workspaces empower and allow businesses, large and small, to better adapt to these ongoing evolutions.
Below you will find 3 trends that will greatly impact the workplace and will help power the growth and adoption of flexible workspaces in various markets.
1. Wellness Becomes The Core Focus
In 2017, wellness received much attention. This year, the attention will continue and wellness will become a core focus for companies in order to prevent high levels of stress and burnout among workers.
Wellness programs have become quite popular, with businesses and workspace operators offering yoga classes, gym access, meditation and break rooms, and the like. While much of wellness was originally focused on physical health, with workplace design encouraging people to walk more, take the stairs, drink more water, allowing more natural light, and so on, in 2018 we will see wellness take a new approach: focusing more on mental health.
Companies and flexible workspace operators will need to make sure that they are offering the right kind of support to workers; this can mean meditation sessions, counseling sessions, or simply a space where people feel comfortable and safe to talk about worries and struggles, personal or professional. Liz Elam, Executive Producer of GCUC, has long been an advocate of mental health and wellness in the workplace, constantly emphasizing that people need support and that mental health should be openly addressed in the workplace and de-stigmatized.
2. Flexible Workspace Solutions Become The Norm
With new accounting standards coming into effect in 2019 that require companies to show long or new leases on their balance sheet, flexible workspace solutions will become more attractive for companies given that short-term leases, under 12 months, are exempt from the new IASB and FASB provision.
Additionally, flexible workspace operators are increasingly allowing members to take up entire floors of workspace, complete with management services that make the offering all the more appealing for companies. Moreover, companies themselves are embracing flexible workspaces, incorporating the coworking concept within their headquarters and regional offices. This provides new business opportunities for flexible workspace operators, as they can offer consulting and management services to those companies seeking to add coworking to their spaces. Such is the case of Spaces, which will be responsible for managing and operating the coworking space set to open inside Microsoft’s Amsterdam offices.
3. AI Lodges Itself In The Workplace
We don’t just mean chatbots here. Smart buildings, IoT, and robots that can carry out small tasks will gain traction in 2018. Artificial Intelligence will change the way we work and the way we interact with one another. Various tasks are likely to be automated, which will lead to the creation of new responsibilities and tasks. Additionally, as voice assistant, biometrics, and virtual reality come more and more into play, the workplace experience will change; it will become seamless and it will help workers focus more on knowledge-based tasks. AI, to a certain extent, will become the best workplace assistant for workers in 2018.