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News Release

Prague

Technology to highly impact workplace configuration – but don’t believe all the hype

Flexible space the “new normal” for European office buildings as occupiers and developers adapt to evolving technology according to Jones Lang LaSalle research


Prague, 13 March 2012 – New technology will continue to drive change to the way people work and the amount of office space they need, as corporate occupiers across Europe strive get the most out of their space and investors and developers search for future-proof value.
 
The five technological advancements that are most likely to enable change over the next decade include:
1. Electricity delivery: the transition from traditional 220V-240V supply to 12V electricity, combined with (eventually) completely wireless provision
2. Green technology: delivering the green agenda and enabling energy-efficiency and cost-savings
3. Cloud computing: removing the need for costly fixed server space and support teams and enabling occupational churn
4. Collaborative technology: increasing adoption of high and low tech solutions
5. Mobile technology: deliver more mobility, flexibility and productivity for users 
 
However, whilst technology is a key enabler for increasing workplace utilisation, the pace of change is not going to be as rapid as many commentators have predicted. There are also key inhibitors which will prevent wholesale change happening overnight. Top inhibitors include:
1. Reliability issue of new products
2. Investment costs required upfront
3. Cultural change required for technology / workplace changes
4. Data protection and security issues
5. Varying sector requirements
 
Bill Page, Director, EMEA Research, Jones Lang LaSalle who is leading the Offices 2020 research programme explained:
“The recent trend has been for increased office densities and more flexible workspace. Because this will intensify over Europe in the next ten years, investors who own office buildings will need to take action to make sure their product is fit for purpose. Middle of the road product will fall into obsolescence as demand will focus on space that enables new ways of working enabled by technology. However, higher rental income can come from denser space occupation as the market increasingly adopts a total cost per head mentality and not rent per square metre.”
 
Benoît du Passage, Managing Director – France and Southern Europe, Jones Lang LaSalle and executive sponsor of the client research project commented on the benefits of new technology for investors and developers:
“Certain older, but well located offices could be more marketable as new 12v electricity and wireless technology can simplify refurbishments by eliminating the need for floor voids. Tenants will also consider lower specification if the framework is enabling customised technology use and flexibility. We also see corporates introducing measures to protect against risks of technological obsolescence by giving staff budgets for their own technology, for example.”
“However, there is a sting in the tail. Embracing the change to the workplace that technology brings takes time and is often a shift in culture. It will take time and resource to help staff to adapt”
Bill Page concluded:
“Although the days of cubicles, cellular offices and being able to smoke at your desk are long gone, the office will remain an integral part of commerce. Developments such as cloud computing, tablets and smartphones are impacting overall space requirements in office buildings, but offices won’t vanish at all as the need for collaborative space will increase.”