The ‘3-2-2’ work week and what it means for landlords

The ‘3-2-2’ work week and what it means for landlords

Sponsored content: IWG

One of the many plus-points of hybrid working is that it’s giving everybody a whole new level of flexibility, both in terms of schedules and where they locate themselves. But in the not so distant past, people worked nine-to-five jobs five days a week from an office they commuted to. Working from home was an anomaly or a perk. Landlords could rely on the continued demand for companies investing in entire networks of offices. In many cases, having a prestigious address was a premium worth paying for and, as businesses grew, so did their real estate footprint – not just domestically, but internationally.

Now, attitudes towards office space have changed dramatically, and the hybrid model - where employees split their time between home, a local flexspace and the company HQ - has taken the lead as the world transitions away from the mass ‘WFH’ movement enforced by periods of lockdown. “Employees will demand greater flexibility and organisations will require it,” said Harvard Business School professor Ashley Whillans in a post on LinkedIn Newscalled ‘24 Big Ideas that will change our world in 2021’.

At the end of last year, Whillans predicted that the seven-day week (normally split 5-2 between work and weekend) could become 3-2-2, with staff splitting their time between home or a nearby flexspace and a dedicated office (with a two-day weekend as usual). Far from being a rigid structure, though, Whillans says the idea is that people get to choose the work schedule that suits them best.

What does this mean for landlords?

For landlords, this new era must be seen as an opportunity. Yes, there will be companies downsizing their offices and even closing them completely but, on the other hand, they will be shifting their focus to flexspace leases and coworking memberships.

For those who own property – be it an empty commercial premises or a vacant high-street retail store – turning it into a branded communal workplace through a partnership with IWG could be the ideal solution. Global firms such as Standard Chartered and NTT have already committed to hybrid working for the long term, recently partnering with IWG to offer their people flexible workspaces closer to home, indicating just how seismic the shift actually is.

After months of working alone at home, many people are keen to shift to a more social setting, at least part of the week, with very few likely to work full time from any one location in the new world of work.

The value of a desirable HQ

In many cases, especially among big organisations, there will still be a need for HQs – only now they will need to be reconfigured to provide more social space and bigger meeting rooms to foster in-person collaboration. Landlords may benefit from demand for more spectacular buildings that function as a flagship, where employees and clients come to congregate.

There is no end to how interiors might be designed but, in all likelihood, companies will use their HQs as selling points when recruiting staff – installing enviable amenities such as rooftop bars, gyms, lounges, meditation rooms, stylish canteens, pools and boardrooms with views to entice people away from their home office.

This approach has already been seen pre-pandemic from Silicon Valley companies such as Google and Facebook, and, as hybrid working evolves, we will almost certainly see a swing back towards spending time in inspiring workplaces surrounded by interesting coworkers.

Optimised coworking environments

For landlords, the degree of uncertainty about how much their premises will be used is what is unnerving because if it is underutilised the lease will be terminated. But what’s important to remember is that the 3-2-2 is simply a reminder that everyone will be organising the geography of their work schedule differently.

Stellar HQs and flexspace are the best way to get people away from laptops at the kitchen table. Instead of a scattering of beige offices with cubicles that no one ever wants to spend time in, over the coming years, there will be a competition to see who can create the most headline-grabbing office, with an emphasis on quality not quantity, and lifestyle over work-life.

Flexible workspace is the fastest-growing sector of the global workplace market. Make the most of this exciting investment opportunity by partnering with IWG today.

Iberian Property logoIberinmo logo
Iberian Property is the best platform for investment in Spain & Portugal. Created for those who seek reliable information about players and deals happening in Iberia. Through updated database, reports, market indicators and daily news, we report “Who’s Who” in Iberian Real Estate!. Iberian Property is also proud to organize the most important international real estate investors’ meeting in Iberia - Portugal Real Estate Summit!