Think about the workforce of two generations ago. A typical employee stayed with the same company for several decades, likely working on the same floor, and maybe even the same office. But today’s workforce is agile. What exactly does that mean?

Agility is synonymous with change and flexibility. When we talk about an agile workforce, we’re discussing one that can easily adapt, scale, and move in new directions.

The sharing economy has allowed us to utilize goods and services more efficiently, rather than relying solely on centralized institutions to deliver them, which has major implications not just for consumers but for the utilization of hard assets, in particular commercial real estate. Sharing-based technology platforms — such as Airbnb and Uber — have given owners of houses and cars the ability to create new streams of revenue for themselves, and high quality, ownerless experiences for their customers. 

For a traditionally asset-heavy industry like real estate, this means ownership will be redefined. According to recent research from JLL, 30 percent of all commercial office space is projected to be consumed as “flexible space” by 2030. Just like Airbnb is the largest “hotelier” and owns no physical room inventory, it is predicted that the largest commercial landlord of the future will own no physical space and companies will be extremely agile. 

What does the agile workforce look like?

In the past, the agile workforce has referred to temporary, freelance, or contract workers. These individuals are empowered to work on their own terms. They pick their schedule and their workspace. But agility isn’t limited to freelance workers.

Randstad’s Workplace study found 68% of employers believe by 2025, the majority of their organization’s workforce will have an agile work arrangement. This shift means businesses are rethinking their office needs. The workplace has become be the most important asset to attracting and retaining today’s top talent.

How is the agile workforce changing the workplace?

Teamwork and collaboration remains important for today’s workforce, and but leading brands understand the need for individual down time to think, process, and solve problems. As discussed in our e-book, 5 Predictions for the Future of Work, the key is striking a balance and offering choices, something the millennial generation considers more important any other workplace amenity—including salary.

Technology and urbanization are changing our work and play environments, too. Work-life balance has been replaced with work-life integration, and physical spaces must support work and play. This means offering more services, technology, and on-demand spaces at work, and thinking of the workplace more in terms of a full-service lifestyle destination.

How can a company become agile?

The business world is shifting to a workforce that can scale up or down rapidly, work remotely, and has changing daily space needs. It’s time to rethink office space design and needs for commercial real estate. 

Companies can retain top talent by adapting to the agile workforce model now. Convene Workplace is a brand-new offering to help companies become agile and give them a new type of flexible access: private office suites, common areas, and collaborative spaces to empower employees to do their best work – for a day, a month, or a year. Learn more about our Convene Workplace memberships and be the first to sign up for site tours, special events, and location updates.