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Global CRE Challenges to Accomodate Styles of All Regions

Global CRE Challenges to Accomodate Styles of All Regions

It relies upon the place on the earth you’re planning for and who you’re

Simply two years in the past HOK surveyed 50 company actual property managers worldwide about their office options and revealed the leads to a Work Design journal article entitled “Global CRE Challenges and Opportunities.” (1) In that article we described what number of corporations have been creating and implementing office requirements in places everywhere in the world.

Our key takeaway from that report was that:

“It’s not enough to understand each company’s unique set of business attributes. We also need to understand the cultural influences of who they are and where they work, as well as the challenges and opportunities of each location. A successful strategy depends on creating spaces and guidelines that are flexible enough to accommodate the cultural attributes, work styles and needs of each region.”

However we live in fast-changing occasions. Having a worldwide place that entails a substantial quantity of worldwide journey, I make these observations based mostly on firsthand expertise coping with shoppers globally and navigating the totally different perceptions, practices, cultural variations throughout these places. Over the previous two years, whereas collaborating with shoppers everywhere in the world to create the simplest office environments, we have already got seen new challenges and alternatives emerge. There have been sufficient modifications that we needed to revisit how corporations are managing their international actual property wants in 2018.


Company actual property (CRE) executives wanting to ship area globally are coping with all kinds of points together with:

  • Attracting and retaining the most effective, brightest individuals
  • Breaking by way of staff’ conventional notions of area entitlement
  • Overcoming reluctance to change
  • A necessity for speed up the design and supply of area that helps the altering wants of staff and organizations
  • The emergence of coworking and distant work as viable choices for workers and as half of an actual property technique
  • Driving up worker area utilization and decreasing occupancy prices
  • Complying with new laws and laws
  • Managing necessities for enhanced bodily and on-line safety
  • Monitoring the rise of nationalism, Brexit and the unknowns of the Trump period
  • Geopolitical unrest and commerce wars
  • New safety vulnerabilities launched by connectivity

However for all of the variations we see around the globe, some commonalities are being embraced internationally:

  • Giving staff decisions about how and the place they work
  • Selling the well being and well-being of individuals who will occupy a workspace
  • Designing areas and communities that promote a stay, work, study and play way of life
  • Creating vibrant and interesting vacation spot areas
  • Fostering a way of group
  • Implementing tech-enabled and data-driven options
  • Making certain an underlying sense of safety and security
  • Designing for area fusion: Mixing workspace with parts of retail, hospitality and residential environments


In our 2016 report we famous that many corporations have been shifting from creating international area requirements to international tips. Although this may increasingly seem to be a delicate shift, it’s a important transfer with a huge impact on area supply.

The worldwide requirements of the previous targeted on offering a constant package of elements, design parts and methods for speedy deployment and ease of administration. However strictly enforced, standardized packages failed in lots of areas. Makes an attempt to obtain uniformity throughout all areas have inherent challenges. Codes, laws, and even development and actual property practices typically range throughout places. Private area preferences and area allowances additionally differ from area to area. Even the importance of particular colours and acceptance of totally different colour palettes can differ.

Tips, then again, supply path with allowances for flexibility associated to variables like cultural norms, entry to assets for FF&E and know-how. That is why many of at present’s corporations are setting up international tips that attempt to create constant work and cultural experiences. These tips account for every area’s distinctive cultural, legislative, fashion and way of life influences, which have to be embraced for the area to succeed.


Each firm has a company construction, whether or not it’s hierarchical, an adhocracy, clan-based or market-driven. However so do nations and areas. In some nations, a hierarchical construction embedded into the cultural fiber permeates into the enterprise environments. In India, the Center East and South America, for instance, the society’s class system typically impacts the workplace’s organizational make-up and objectives for adopting new methods of working. In lots of elements of the world gender can also be a think about how area is designed. Corporations looking for to create a flatter organizational construction—and a office that helps this—should take this under consideration of their area tips and perceive that hierarchy nonetheless exists within the cultural fiber of many areas.

The current rise of adhocracies displays the rise of the gig financial system. In Asia, many nations are encouraging entrepreneurialism to offset sluggish progress in different industries reminiscent of manufacturing. The brand new entrepreneurial spirit within the East is fueling the speedy progress of many startup corporations that want to allow fast, seamless deployment of their providers or creation of their merchandise. Their starvation for straightforward entry to extremely versatile area is fueling the expansion of co-working areas and absolutely outfitted serviced workplaces.

Elevated mobility is shifting us past brick-and-mortar options to a extra experience-based society, thus altering the significance of place. The rise of Exercise-Based mostly Working (ABW) and Neighborhood-based Selection Environments (NCE) in nations just like the Netherlands and Australia established a brand new mannequin that different areas of the world have adopted at various charges. Enabled partially by the egalitarian nature of its society, Australia embraced these free-range options over a decade in the past. However now extra U.S. corporations are casting apart conventional hierarchies and starting to enterprise into the use of ABW and NCE areas. Cultural and organizational buildings additionally play a serious position within the adoption of new methods of work and their acceptance from one area to one other.


The viability of telework varies throughout areas. Corporations with workplaces in cities with much less visitors congestion than the world’s largest metropolitan areas, the place common one-way commutes can run to nicely over an hour, might not want formal telework packages.

In Asia, the place so many individuals reside in smaller, multigenerational housing models, the power to work remotely was restricted till the current emergence of co-working. That is one purpose the necessity for versatile workplace area has seen such a pointy uptick in Asian markets.

With report numbers of Millennials within the U.S. dwelling with their mother and father, working from residence could be a wrestle for some. For this era of younger adults, having a spot to work outdoors the house—be it an workplace, a café or a co-working area—is often most popular. CRE managers want to be perceive how these cultural nuances can impression actual property methods from area to area.

Type and private preferences can also range by area. Totally different colour and materials preferences, area allocation, privateness ranges and private area requirements have to be thought-about if we’re to create workplaces that appeal to people and make them really feel welcome and cozy. Simply as having too little private area could be seen as a adverse in some areas, for instance, in different elements of the world having an excessive amount of private area can also have an hostile impact. Area allocations and density should range for every area.


Because the quantity of staff within the U.S. and different main industrial nations continues to lower, the power to substitute the prevailing office can be a problem. Asia can also be coping with an getting old inhabitants. Most of the inhabitants progress is happening in creating nations, the place safe jobs are scarce. As there are extra deaths than births in lots of nations, immigration is usually a potential answer to replenishing the workforce. But there are geopolitical challenges and a populist motion is on the rise.

As workplaces transfer to develop into extra “egalitarian,” the shift is usually felt probably the most on the center supervisor degree. Workplaces that focus much less on hierarchy and extra on perform upend individuals’s perceptions of office rewards and standing, affecting how they work and work together with others.

However those that embrace the power to work flexibly even have probably the most to achieve. These have a tendency to be the Gen-Xers and Child Boomers. They’ve youngsters, growing older mother and father and sometimes reside within the suburbs. They’re additionally extra possible to have “tenure” and, having confirmed themselves, are granted extra freedom. And eventually, they understand that they may doubtless be working longer than anticipated and are eager about a “soft retirement” or the choice to work part-time or seek the advice of to the agency.

The youthful era, the Millennials, are extra concerning the “We-volution. They journey in packs and need to make their mark. To try this, they want to be within the workplace, the place they are often seen and heard. 


In Asia, the place the typical business workplace area lease is three years, the buildout of area is taken into account extra momentary. In Europe, the place lease phrases have a tendency are longer, buildout nonetheless sometimes takes place from the underside of the completed ceiling to the completed flooring. Examine this to the U.S., the place lease phrases are longer and build-outs extra complete. This explains the “get it right” angle and inclination to err on the conservative aspect for a lot of U.S.-based corporations shifting into new workplaces.

Shorter lease phrases encourage extra experimental approaches with a mindset of, “If it doesn’t work you can change it in a few years.” This distinction has fostered innovation in Asian markets. In Australia, office innovation has been fueled by the can-do, egalitarian nature of the individuals. Within the Netherlands, the place we see some of probably the most progressive workspaces, the open embrace of know-how, coupled with a democratic tradition that values nice design, has led to many experimental areas and advances in office design.


European legal guidelines have put these nations forward of a lot of the world’s workforce on the social curve. A want to shield staff’ rights and the acceptance that know-how is blurring the strains between work and private time, typically in unhealthy methods, has led to new laws and work practices in some nations. In France, laws (2) was lately handed to management e mail and its infringement of individuals’s private time. To guard their individuals’s private area, German corporations together with Volkswagen, BMW and Puma have put in place guidelines outlining when info can and can’t be despatched by way of their servers. (three) And the German Labor Ministry handed tips that state employees shouldn’t be penalized for switching off their mobiles or failing to decide up messages throughout non-work hours. (four)

Psychological well being points are being acknowledged in Europe and lots of are beginning to perceive the influence of stress on the workforce. That is one space the place the U.S. lags. There’s nonetheless a lot stigmatism related to psychological sickness, emotional well being and a spotlight deficit hyperactivity dysfunction (ADHD). However the World Well being Group has famous that, “Stress is the health epidemic of the 21st century.” (5) And a report by Towers Watson famous that stress is the primary way of life danger issue that’s negatively impacting staff at the moment—forward of weight problems, drug and alcohol use, and poor well being. (6)

As these points more and more impression companies and the well being and well-being of the workforce, they’ll want to be addressed. In any case, the particular wants of individuals with ADHD are coated by the People with Disabilities Act (ADA) and if requested employers are obligated to handle the wants of staff within the office. An estimated eight to 9 million American adults have ADHD and between 85 and 90 % of adults with ADHD have no idea they’ve it however are struggling at work. (7)

A rising quantity of nations are passing laws impacting office design. Although these laws range by nation, they typically cowl entry to daylight and most distances from a workstation to the perimeter. Others are beginning to handle well-being and mandating that staff have entry to sit-to-stand workstations.


China is shifting quickly to turn into a pacesetter in synthetic intelligence and South Korea is investing closely in robotics. Within the U.S., the influence of autonomous automobiles is altering the dialog round how we plan buildings and parking garages and the way our metropolis streets could be redesigned to accommodate unmanned automobiles.

The emergence of the Web of Issues can also be altering the dialog about we how design our areas. Sensible units are starting to interface with constructing administration techniques to leverage the facility of the info being collected. Facility administration software program can also be evolving, and there’s a renewed give attention to how knowledge is being collected and used to impression the area, facility and consumer expertise. Some organizations are specializing in automating constructing techniques to improve consumer management and luxury. Others need to use knowledge to improve area utilization and refine how we design areas. In Asia, the place corporations aren’t experiencing the identical utilization/occupancy points that their U.S.-based counterparts are going by way of, the dialog is much less about densification and extra about automation.

A 2018 research by PWC, “Workforce of the Future: The Competing Forces Shaping 2030,” (eight) reported that 38 % of U.S. staff are in danger due to automation, in contrast to solely 21 % in Japan. (9) Jobs are probably to emerge the place innovation is occurring, and in accordance to a current report by Bloomberg, South Korea, Sweden and Singapore prime the listing of probably the most revolutionary economies. The U.S. has dropped out of the highest 10. (10)

The drive to innovation is altering the best way area is designed and delivered. Agile areas have emerged in Asia and Silicon Valley, the place velocity to innovation and to market are very important. The time period ‘Agile’ is generally used within the tech business to help cross-functional, project-based groups working in shut proximity to allow them to collaborate and ship tasks. With the give attention to bringing groups collectively, these workspaces are extra streamlined and have much less selection in work settings. Assume “scrum” areas for project-based groups in pods with tons of whiteboards, sticky notes and reconfigurable furnishings.

Like Agile areas, Maker Environments for Cellular Occupants (MEMO) area offers innovation-focused groups with a spread of modes and agile environments that may be reconfigured to meet the wants of the duty at hand. MEMO areas put individuals in management of their experiences. These are sometimes uncooked, immersive environments that embrace a “garage-ification” of area that focuses on connections, equality and breaking down silos. Whereas Agile area has little selection, MEMO areas supply extra decisions and settings for prolonged durations of innovation.


Right here’s a roundup of different present challenges and alternatives which are distinctive to totally different areas of the world.

In North America, as unemployment hits a brand new low and the expertise warfare heats up, there’s a rising give attention to consumer expertise, group and well-being within the office. Many of probably the most revolutionary workspaces may be discovered simply north of the U.S. border, in Toronto. As a extra egalitarian society, there’s extra of a willingness in Toronto to embrace activity-based working. Coworking, nevertheless, hasn’t taken off in Canada to the extent it has in different markets. That is partly as a result of of pushback from constructing house owners and builders, many of whom don’t need to tackle the legal responsibility that comes with particular venture entities.

In Europe, sensible buildings have emerged to the extent that they’re setting international benchmarks. Employee rights, in addition to their well being and well-being, are a driving problem within the EU market. In Germany and France, laws was lately handed to management the infringement of e mail on individuals’s private time. There’s a serious area crunch in London, the place the market is being closely impacted by an inflow of artistic workplace startups and co-working areas. Through the 2012 Summer time Olympics, metropolis leaders inspired individuals in downtown areas to work remotely to alleviate visitors and congestion. They even held a “work remotely practice day” that was so profitable that many downtown areas have been underpopulated through the Olympic occasions. The expertise resulted in a brand new consciousness of the power to work remotely in a metropolis affected by rail strikes, heavy congestion, safety threats and excessive prices. Although the Nordic nations are far forward on ABW and office technique ideas, co-working has not hit the market as strongly as in different areas. And the enterprise model is unlikely to thrive due to the restricted quantity of giant firms based mostly in these nations.

Extra Center Japanese builders in are leveraging sensible constructing applied sciences and options to handle the tough local weather and management power.

The will for versatile workplace area is rising quicker in Asia than anyplace else–partially as a result of of shorter lease phrases, the upper value of area and the will of corporations to simplify entry to area out there. The sustainability motion can also be choosing up steam and the rise of inexperienced constructing requirements is influencing new tasks and communities. Singapore and Hong Kong are two of the area’s most trendy cities. Fueled by the inflow of worldwide corporations and staff, corporations listed here are beginning to embrace world-class concepts round office technique and evidence-based design. Whereas up to now mobility choices for workers have been restricted, an abundance of choices are rising with the rise of coworking and serviced workplaces.

In Australia and New Zealand, one development is to transfer past sustainability within the constructed surroundings—decreasing the injury brought on by useful resource use—to creating areas that may contribute to the regeneration and well being of the setting.

Africa stays challenged by a restricted infrastructure. Individuals in areas that don’t have paved roads carry cell phones. Many giant corporations have come into the market and created islands of trendy workplace buildings inside an old-world construction. That is beginning to have a trickle-out impact.


As corporations experiment with the notion of embracing new office ideas to put together themselves and their organizations for the longer term, they typically look to examples of what others have accomplished. However few corporations look far sufficient. We propose you forged a large internet. There are few ideas that haven’t been vetted someplace on the planet and there are nice classes to be discovered. However when wanting to develop best-in-class workplaces and set your self aside out of your competitors, it’s essential to keep in mind that simply because a selected strategy works for one firm or in a single area doesn’t imply it should be just right for you. Understanding your group’s distinctive organizational DNA and regional attributes is paramount to figuring out the fitting answer.

A Tour of’s U.S. Workplaces

As a number one digital journey platform with a very international footprint,’s strategy to the office setting is all about creating an expertise that enhances the standard of individuals’s working life, improves efficiency, and stimulates creativity and collaboration. Whereas striving for consistency throughout their portfolio that displays their mission to empower individuals to expertise the world, additionally they need every workplace to be related to the area and the design to be locally-inspired.


For Orlando, “The City Beautiful” has a lot to supply from its vigorous downtown nightlife to its rustic old-Florida allure. Orlando reveals a variety of magnificence and actions that influenced the design to develop into as rustic and pure because it was revolutionary and modern. A couple of of the intentional design options inside the area embrace a strolling path all through the area depicted by carpets with various textures, colours, and nature-inspired patterns; reclaimed options comparable to wooden plank partitions, a skateboard wall tile backsplash, and a focal mild fixture constructed out of recycled bicycle elements; a placing inexperienced and rocking chairs dealing with the gorgeous exterior views of Sand Lake; assembly rooms designed round Florida images submitted by staff; and vintage-inspired marquee lighting in focal areas such because the entry, gaming space, and break area.


Referred to as the power capital of the world, the Bayou Metropolis has a broad enterprise market with a cultural variety surpassing New York Metropolis. With that as a framework, the HOK workforce introduced collectively the individuality of the town with the values and tradition which are distinctively

Situated in coronary heart of Houston’s downtown, the workplace overlooks the historic Esperson Constructing, flanked by at this time’s trendy skyscrapers. The inside of the workplace takes you on a journey of what makes H-City one of the nation’s most up-and-coming cities. The foyer welcomes you with blue skies and displays the true Texas Piney Woods. With paintings that takes you from the molecular cell degree of one of the most important medical facilities within the nation to an out-of-this-world area shuttle, you start to perceive the true variety of Houston.


Like a miniature metropolis, the Chicago workplace has areas to work, locations to meet, areas to play and loosen up, and routes that join every little thing collectively. Designed round Chicago’s speedy transit system routes, the pink, inexperienced, orange, purple, and brown carpet strains information you thru the workplace.

The colourful colours and home windows on the world permit the town to turn out to be half of the workplace. The workplace is infused with various workspaces for various sorts of actions—one huddle room captures the dynamics of the Chicago Theatre, whereas a aspect hall is was a artistic area. An area graffiti artist commemorates the town on the partitions of a escape room and chain linked fence provides one other contact of Chicago streets to the workplace. Coaching rooms function a versatile design that’s each useful and crammed with worker journey pictures from around the globe.


Set towards the beautiful backdrop of the Wasatch and Oquirrh Mountain ranges, the Salt Lake Metropolis workplace has one of the county’s greatest backyards— 5 nationwide parks and world-class ski resorts. Utilizing the town and the state as inspiration, the workplace faces westward with magnificent views all through the workplace. The model is mixed with rugged wooden and stone from the area. Incorporating the pure magnificence of the area, mountain vary silhouettes are etched into the inside glass and murals of the historic rock formations seize the creativeness.

Works Cited
  1. Sargent,Kay. “Global CRE Challenges and Opportunities.” Work Design Journal, 14 June 2016.
  2. Morris, David. “New French Law Bars Work Email After Hours.” Fortune, 1 January 2017.
  3. Gallo, Amy. “Stop Email Overload.” Harvard Enterprise Evaluate, 21 February 2012.
  4. Vasagar, Jeevan. “Out of hours working banned by German Labour Ministry.” The Telegraph, 30 August 2013,
  5. “The Health Epidemic of the 21st Century.” Sunday Commonplace, 18 April 2013.
  6. Willis Towers Watson. “The Business Value of a Healthy Workforce.” [email protected]™ Survey Report 2013/2014, United States, January 2014,
  7. Consideration Deficit Dysfunction Affiliation.
  8. “Workforce of the future: The competing forces shaping 2030.” 2018.
  9. “UK Economic Outlook.” March 2017,
  10. Ritholtz, Barry. “50 Most Innovative Economies.” The Huge Image, 24 January 2018,