In 2017, companies around the world will spend billions of dollars on their workplaces. But now more than ever, companies must challenge themselves to break old spending habits. The nature of workplace strategy is evolving so rapidly that keeping up — let alone staying ahead of the curve — can be a definite challenge.

Workplace strategy used to be about maintaining facilities and trimming expenses — but it’s just not that simple anymore. Businesses need to create workplaces that attract the best talent, adjust to shifting workforce demographics and promote employee well-being while staying ahead of new demands and new technologies. And all of this must be accomplished while containing costs in an increasingly competitive recruitment and retention landscape.

To win the talent arms race, the importance of creating an effective workplace can’t be understated. For the average company, more than 80% of total costs are typically tied to people.1 This means that even modest improvements to employee productivity, engagement and satisfaction in the workplace can have significant returns on investment.

In our work, my colleagues and I find that the most successful companies look at workplace strategy as a true business opportunity rather than just a design challenge. By bringing together our insights and experiences from every corner of the world, we have identified five major shifts we believe businesses need to make in the workplace over the next five years:

Make employee experience a core part of business strategy »

Drive engagement and productivity by creating true ownership of the employee experience and bringing the service-oriented hospitality mindset into the workplace.

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Build the “Internet of Workplace” »

Shift your strategy on digital integration in the workplace from nice-to-have amenities to core functionalities that make the workplace reactive and proactive and that get ahead of the automation impact.

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Create a workplace that makes people healthier »

Ensure that employees are healthier when they leave the workplace than when they arrive by “leading” employees to wellness, making technology a wellness-enabler and taking designing for wellness to the next level.

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Ingrain the co-working mentality in real estate strategy »

Change the way you think about space needs to focus more on the categories of “core” and “flexible.” Doing so can help you realize the true impact of flexibility on your bottom line and business strategy.

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Enable the agile organization »

Align your work environment with the agile organization model and you will be better placed to adapt to the changing needs of your clients and the marketplace — and stay one step ahead.

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Together, we’ve created a series of posts that we’ll share over the coming weeks to dig deeply into each of these trends and present your “roadmap to 2022” — the ways you can start making progress now so that your business can stay on top in the future.

We’ll kick things off by exploring a topic that is core to every business: the people. Read about how you can make employee experience a core part of business strategy.

Also: Read Global Workplace Trends: Simple Steps to Take Right Now

This post is part of a series on the five workplace trends that Colliers’ global workplace experts see as the most crucial for companies to align with in the next five years. Contact the workplace expert in your region for more insights and information.



Keith Perske
Head of Workplace Solutions
+1 512 673 3653

Australia & New Zealand

Peter Black
Head of Workplace Solutions
+61 2 9249 2065


JanJaap Boogaard
Head of Workplace Solutions
+31 10 412 00 35

North Asia

Truddy Cheung
Head of Workplace Solutions
+852 2822 0584

Southeast Asia

Samarth Kasturia
Head of Workplace Solutions
+65 6531 8685

1Rex Miller, Mabel Casey and Mark Konchar, Change Your Space, Change Your Culture: How Engaging Workspaces Lead to Transformation and Growth, (Wiley, 2014), 148.
“PIA Property Data Report 2016.” Property Industry Alliance.