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Workplace Evolution: Experts Navigate Paradigm Shift In Design & Utilisation

The discussions spotlight evolving landscapes, including individual expectations, post-pandemic considerations, financial perspectives and the integration of technology, all shaping the future of work environments

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In the midst of this transformative paradigm shift in redefining the workplace, professionals are actively exploring innovative strategies for space utilisation and design. It is not only influenced by technological advancements but also by a growing awareness of the importance of accommodating individual expectations, adapting to legal changes and integrating voluntary standards.

While moderating a recent panel discussion at the BW Facility Management Conference, Sunil Gauba, VP & Head- Real Estate Expansion, CARS24, provided valuable insights into the evolving landscape. 

Gauba emphasised the need for organisations to consider individual expectations and navigate legal changes while also integrating voluntary standards. This holistic approach, he suggested, is essential for creating workspaces that align with the diverse needs of modern professionals and the evolving regulatory environment.

Shailendra Nath, Independent Consultant at Facility Management Conference 2024, highlights the changing individual expectations concerning health and wellbeing, alongside the dynamic legal landscape in building laws and permits. 

"Outside of the law and permits there are also a lot of voluntary standards coming in into the play. That leaves a lot of thought for looking at how future places need to be designed and what aspects can be looked into," he said.

Jai Agnani, VP, Global Head Corporate Real Estate, Facilities & Logistics, EXL emphasises the post-pandemic transformation, noting that organisations are now appreciating the value of standards previously taken for granted.

"Now that we are preparing ourselves for the post-pandemic era, people are adopting it, people are noticing these and are appreciating the value of these whether community areas, open areas or collab areas, those are being utilised. I’m sure as we move forward the designs will evolve," Agnani stressed.

However, Rajiv Sharma, Head - Workplace Management, Nykaa brings a financial perspective into the conversation, underlining the strategic management of space in the broader context of organisational profitability. 

With real estate costs constituting a significant portion of operational expenses, he stresses the importance of a strategic approach to avoid unnecessary wastage.

"When you’re talking about the PNL approach, every PNL has multiple segments in the organisation and we represent one. As you’re submitting your report to the management, 2 or 3 per cent is what you’re spending, 80 per cent of that 2 or 3 per cent is the cost of real estate, it means this is a space, so the rest is related to your operating cost," he said.

Raghupathy Vaidyanathan, Associate VP, HCL Technologies, focusing on the IT sector, identifies three key stakeholders shaping the future workplace.

"The first key stakeholder is the real estate manager or facility manager from a perspective of managing the space and managing the cast, the second key stakeholder who is going to redefine the future is your employees, as they are now deciding how the future workplace has to be, the third stakeholder is the business for who we are creating those infrastructures," he said.

Furthermore, he explained the crucial role of service partners and the integration of technology.

"One key element that connects the people, real estate and business are your service partners. One area that is going to integrate all these things is the technology platform. Technology is going to be the game changer that also enables absolute transparency and real-time availability of data," he stated.

The discussions held among industry experts underscore the significant paradigm shift occurring in workplace design and utilisation. As professionals navigate through evolving landscapes, including individual expectations, post-pandemic considerations, financial perspectives and technology integration, it's evident that the future of work environments is undergoing a transformative phase. With a focus on health and wellbeing, legal compliance, financial efficiency, and the role of technology, organisations are poised to embrace innovative approaches that cater to the evolving needs of employees and businesses alike.


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