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Well-Being – The key factor for getting employees back to work!

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Covid-19 brought in its wake a profound change in the way people work, one factor being a major shift in the balance between time spent in the office and time working from another location, either at home, in a co-working space or in a café.

Flexibility has become an integral part of our working life and should now be considered as a differentiating factor in attracting and retaining a workforce that is increasingly concerned about freedom, achieving a better balance between work and home life, and that is increasingly demanding about physical and mental well-being and health.

The pendulum effect created by the lockdown that forced people to work 100% from home, swung so far that some employers felt forced to authorize lifelong teleworking in certain companies, it is now swinging back to a new balanced situation. The vast majority of employers (including those who have offered lifelong teleworking) consider that working in the office is of vital importance in promoting social relations, reinforcing a sense of belonging and boosting creativity. Employees share this point of view and want to return to the workplace for the very same reasons. The younger generations also refer to disproportion in the time spent working at home compared to in the workplace, as well as difficulties concentrating and learning new material. Furthermore, 26% of Gen Z report inadequate home workspace while 30% of Millenials/Gen X report caregiver responsibilities as top challenges working from home. New and younger employees apparently lack supervision.

Fig. : Top challenges working from home by generation

Flexibility has become one of the determining factors for the future of office work resulting in a multiplicity of locations, spaces and uses. Although the impact on office landscapes is real, with an anticipated reduction in the need for office space over the next few years and a possible repositioning of companies in Belgium to attract a new workforce, workspaces themselves will also have to be reinvented in order to meet the expectations and new needs of employees and employers.

Fig. : A variety of locations and experiences to support convenience, functionality and well-being

The working environment, that is a combination of the different elements that make up the interior layout, plays an essential role in the well-being of employees and can have a significant impact on their physical and mental health.

Using simpler and more intuitive spaces, ensuring the adaptability of workspaces, new dimensions for more accessible uses, are becoming the norm in order to guarantee a working environment that is suitable for one and all. A more universal framework that is less stigmatizing and takes into account the different degrees of required autonomy or life experience, whether cultural or personal, that corresponds to a wider spectrum of individual personalities and comfort for all.

The future of the workspace

The working environment, that is a combination of the different elements that make up the interior layout, plays an essential role in the well-being of employees and can have a significant impact on their physical and mental health.

Using simpler and more intuitive spaces, ensuring the adaptability of workspaces, new dimensions for more accessible uses, are becoming the norm in order to guarantee a working environment that is suitable for one and all. A more universal framework that is less stigmatizing and takes into account the different degrees of required autonomy or life experience, whether cultural or personal, that corresponds to a wider spectrum of individual personalities and comfort for all.

Ergonomics are of paramount importance for physical comfort. For instance, ergonomic chairs, height-adjustable desks and adjustable & appropriately-sized screens reduce muscular pain and fatigue. What’s more, an efficient layout facilitates a smooth workflow while at the same time encouraging the user to move about and be dynamic.

Similarly, the general acoustics of the office as a whole or of each room according to its use, combined with suitable lighting, help to create a healthy and calm environment, thereby reducing stress and enhancing user productivity. Moreover, the user’s sensory experience can be enhanced by the astute choice of colours and materials. Harmonious, balanced and dynamic décor can enhance the mood and interaction of individuals.

The type of construction materials used, along with air quality, form an integral part of the interior design by ensuring a healthy and sustainable working environment. Last but not least, the integration of nature is also beneficial. “Biophilic design” as it’s known is increasingly becoming a key element in the workspace development process. Natural elements such as plants, plentiful natural light and views outside all help to foster relaxation, creativity and mental well-being.

In short, the design of office spaces will continue to play a key role in the well-being of users. By creating a comfortable, functional and pleasant environment, companies can improve employee satisfaction, productivity and mental health. By the same token, flexibility, in terms of equipment or the layout itself, where it meets the needs of individual as well as groups, will help to enhance individual satisfaction and increase commitment.

Less space for more functions

The Covid crisis has profoundly changed the way we see our relationship with work and workspaces. The relocations and remodeling projects we have witnessed in recent months suggest a reduction of around 20-30% in space requirements as a result of the increase in teleworking. But it is more fundamentally the workspace itself that is undergoing the most change. It now has to offer a multiplicity of uses: informal meeting places, areas for concentrating, meeting rooms and joint working spaces are being added to the ‘traditional’ offices as well as a multiplicity of atmospheres and layouts.

To attract and retain talent, employers will have to invest massively in their workspaces, responding to a growing number of needs and uses, while promoting the well-being of their employees. C&W Design+Build’s experience and daily monitoring of new trends in workspaces make it the ideal partner to help you reinvent your office space of the future.

New Head of C&W Design + Build

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Cushman & Wakefield, the leading global real estate services firm, appoints Daciana Hagea as new Head of C&W Design + Build.

Before joining Cushman & Wakefield, Daciana Hagea spent her early career in New York, most notably with Yoo, the real estate & design branding company founded by John Hitchcox and renowned designer Philippe Starck.

On returning to Belgium, she joined leading architecture firm B2AI as Senior Project Architect and oversaw the construction of flagship real estate projects in Brussels such as The One tower with Atenor, Brucity, the Administrative Centre of the City of Brussels with AGRE and the renovation of the historic building at 20 Rue Royale 20, the new home of BNP Paribas Fortis’ Wealth Department.

In addition to her 15 years’ experience in the construction sector, Daciana Hagea has a degree in civil engineering and architecture from UCLouvain and a Masters in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University.

Cushman & Wakefield provide a raft of services including Letting, Investment advice, Development, Advising of occupiers, Valuation and Consultancy and, since 2017, the Design + Build department.

A true pioneer in the areas of workspace creation, the definition and implementation of new ways of working, change management and well-being at work, C&W Design + Build plays a leading role in the design and construction of office space in Belgium and Luxembourg.

With the firm currently charting a new course towards sustainability and reorganising its strategy, Daciana Hagea’s arrival will serve to consolidate this new vision. She will be in charge of the operational and financial performance of C&W Design + Build’s activities in Belgium and Luxembourg, deploying her strong experience in design and project management in service of this new objective.  We’re sure she’ll infuse this ever-growing team with a real breath of fresh air, creativity and humanity.

Sébastien Bequet, Country Head Luxembourg and Head of Design + Build ad interim comments: “I’m delighted that Daciana Hagea has accepted this new post as Director of C&W Design + Build. In this role, her wealth of experience will enable her to enhance the synergies between our various departments at both international and local levels, thus enhancing our leading position on the Belgian and Luxembourgian markets. Since the emergence of COVID-19, we have developed a comprehensive range of new services aimed at creating a safe and innovative working environment for the post-Covid era. Thanks to the cooperation of our international teams and our experts in workspace strategy, C&W Design + Build is helping businesses to develop groundbreaking workspaces that will help attract and retain the top talent in this challenging period.”

Daciana Hagea, new Head of C&W Design + Build: “Joining Cushman and Wakefield, one of the leading real estate players in Belgium and worldwide, is for me a natural progression along a path centred on ongoing excellence and improvement. I’m proud to become part of the C&W Design + Build team and I’m looking forward to helping to uphold its values. In a property market that’s having to reinvent itself, I’m excited at becoming part of the Cushman & Wakefield group’s vision for building a future where sustainable development and well-being at work are integral elements. I’m also confident that this new adventure for both myself and my new team will further cement these values based upon strong social and environmental ethics.

Presentation Brochure 2021

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C&W Design + Build Presentation Brochure

Foreword

2020 was a year without precedent.  It radically changed our way of living and working for the long term. The choice of Life took precedence over concerns about the economy. Who would ever have imagined that such a thing was possible?

Businesses, made up as they are of men and women, are currently asking themselves all sorts of questions about returning to the office – especially having experienced working from home, with its advantages and disadvantages and the habits it creates. The office will no longer be a single place, but a whole ecosystem, where hybridisation, innovation, collaboration, corporate culture and wellbeing at work will be among the determining elements. This means that companies will have to answer questions such as how many days a week will my labour force be coming into the office? On what terms? And for what reasons?

This is why Cushman & Wakefield, as specialists and leaders in work environments, are busy guiding and advising our current and future clients about adjusting their company policies and organisational models, while still retaining their business strategies.

Making sure they can attract and retain staff and new talents in an environment that is healthy, safe and comfortable. Readjusting to real life and imagining the office of tomorrow as a blend of actually going to the office and working from home, so that the economy can recover.

The post-Covid world will force us in future to focus more on human beings than we did in the past. And we will find the fundamental values of collaboration, creativity, social contact, corporate culture and a sense of belonging more pervasive than ever. Our expert teams in Change Management, the Workplace Environment and design & build will be on hand to guide you throughout your thought process, from defining your workplace strategy, to designing and creating your new office spaces – your new living spaces, in fact.

We hope you make many fine discoveries as you read this brochure.

The future of the Belgian workplace

The future of the Belgian workplace

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The future of the Belgian workplace

The future of the post COVID-19 Belgian workplace

 

Brussels – January 31, 2021 – Cushman & Wakefield (NYSE: CWK), a leading global real estate services firm, partnered with senior researchers at George Washington University (GWU), to release different reports examining the history and future of the office. These were compiled in response to the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the office space market.

The first report “Purpose of Place: History and Future of the Office” reviewed existing academic literature to explore the benefits of working from the office and home. The key areas examined were the impact of:

  1.  Productivity
  2. Creativity and Innovation
  3. Corporate Culture and Branding
  4. Employee Engagement and Satisfaction
  5. Walkable Spaces

The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the operations of organisations around the world, forcing many to adapt their homes into offices. Through flexibility and creativity, employers and employees across the board came up with resourceful ways to manage this paradigm shift, allowing, in some sectors, businesses to run as usual.

This was more straightforward in countries that had a pre-established culture of working remotely as well as the necessary supporting technological infrastructure. Belgium, for example, pre-covid placed 4th in both the EMEA and Europe overall, for the number of occupations able to work remotely. According to a 2019 survey on working from home across Europe, 24.6% of Belgians responded that they sometimes WFH, placing Belgium 9th out of 35 countries. This percentage was only at 19% in 2010. Furthermore, more than 55% of Belgians interviewed expect to increase significantly their remote work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.


Regardless, even in those countries less suited to the transformations posed by the pandemic, it was made clear that with communications technologies productivity could be achieved anywhere. While drastic lifestyle changes and economic uncertainty were brought on by the pandemic, people also experienced benefits in their new WFH arrangements.

Employees, for example, no longer needed to dread long commuting hours. They experienced a greater sense of autonomy and flexibility over how, when, and where they would work. And they enjoyed more time and proximity to their home life. The communications infrastructure accelerated a ‘new normal’, which presented employees with new choices. They also raised questions about the old ways of doing things, including the fundamental purpose of office space itself. Employers saw the opportunity to reduce overheads by downsizing on unnecessary and expensive office space, often located in high value central urban areas. The COVID-19 has put some (re-)location decisions on hold across Europe and in Brussels where the take-up was 50% lower in 2020 than in 2019.

Nevertheless, the findings from our report suggest that it is unlikely the Covid-19 induced remote work experiment will continue unchanged in a post-covid world. The evidence regarding the impact of long-term remote working on productivity is mixed, as many report negative experiences regarding creativity and innovation. A key asset of creative and knowledge-based industries is often facilitated by spontaneous conversations and impromptu meetings between co-workers, not easily replicated when WFH. An office set-up with a ‘walkable space’ offers the opportunity for these chance encounters with colleagues in an environment where knowledge and ideas circulate freely.

The duration of WFH can also have a negative impact on the wellbeing of employees, compounding the feelings of social isolation brought on by covid-19 restrictions. Participants in our focus group spoke of an eagerness to return to the office to connect and collaborate = something they felt was lacking from the WFH arrangement. They spoke of WFH fatigue, especially when it came to endless video meetings. They also mentioned the damage done to company culture through digital working half of the respondents to our survey mentioned they struggled to identify with it.

The Covid-19 induced work arrangements will continue to change as we enter a post-covid world. However, there will be a significant shift in the purpose of the office going forward.

Workplace Ecosystems of the Future

Sara Staels, Head of Workplace Strategy, adds: “Human connection and social bonding are suffering, impacting the connection to corporate culture and learning.”

Going forward, the offices of tomorrow will need to embrace these findings:

  • A mix of in-office and remote work options optimises productivity
  • Employees want choice and freedom, but few want to work entirely from home
  • Being forced to stay home disproportionately impacts young and new staff, who lack opportunities for mentorship and growth
  • A range of shared spaces facilitates opportunities for innovation and creativity
  • Employee wellbeing must be prioritised at all stages
  • Having a location in a ‘walkable place’ can attract talent and exposes the company to (a) wider circulations of ideas and knowledge.
Sara Staels

Sara Staels

Head of Workplace Strategy

“The workplace will no longer be a single location but a whole ecosystem. It will comprise of WFH options, an HQ office with a range of different size meeting rooms and shared facilities, local hubs, coffee shops, and co-working spaces. People will work how and where they want, depending on their tasks, mood, and activities. More than ever, technology will be the backbone of the office, connecting the ecosystem together. When (re)organizing their future offices, companies will have to take this into account.”

Workplace and Employee Wellbeing

We believe too much of the rhetoric surrounding ‘new ways of working’ has focused on productivity at the expense of a human-centered design approach. In today’s tertiary economy, which encompasses all creative, tech, and knowledge-based industries, employees increasingly identify with their work. They find meaning through this identity and its association with the organisation for which they work. Consequently, it has become of increasing importance for employees to feel a connection to their workplaces. They want the workplace to reflect their values and fulfill their need to belong. This became especially important with the effects of social isolation during the pandemic.

While the job itself and the company’s organisational structure can contribute to this, companies must also keep in mind the impact of the physical environment where their staff work. And the effect it has on employee wellbeing and productivity – the link between the two is well-documented by science. On top of this, recent graduates will choose their place of work based on where they believe their needs can be met. So, to attract and retain talent, any well-designed workplace strategy must take employee wellbeing seriously.

Sara Staels, Head of Workplace Strategy, comments on the importance of workplace wellbeing: “Wellbeing at the workplace has never been so important. The office needs to meet employees’ expectations to attract them into the office.”

“The office of tomorrow must provide the new generation with the possibility of personal growth as well as opportunities for social community. Especially in light of the negative ongoing effects of social distancing restrictions. It must therefore create a feeling of belonging, uniting stakeholders and encouraging their participation in the creation of a community. It must be dynamic, flexible, agile, and connected. Today, the new generation expects their work environment to be a quality space they can take pride in – the center of their social life, aesthetically pleasing, cultured, enabling meaningful exchanges, and providing fulfillment.”

 

ADMOS becomes C&W Design + Build

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ADMOS Design & Build is now C&W Design + Build

The “future of work” is about more than just design

 

Brussels, 5 September 2019 – Real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield announces an important milestone: the rebranding of ADMOS Design & Build, C&W Design + Build a trendsetter in design and construction practices and new ways of working which it acquired in 2017, as C&W Design + Build.

Since the acquisition of the market-leading Design + Build firm in Belgium and Luxembourg, the office design business has continued to evolve at pace as the impact of the workplaces on employee productivity is better understood by occupiers. In light of this and increasing demand for its services, Cushman & Wakefield is fully integrating and rebranding ADMOS as C&W Design + Build.

Koen Nevens, Head of Cushman & Wakefield in Belgium, said: “More and more customers are asking for total solutions. They are not just asking us for an office space: they also want advice about furnishing that space. Being able to provide a fully-integrated offer to our clients allows us to be completely responsive to their requirements. We can deliver all aspects of a project, including the construction-related activities, or provide traditional project management, consultancy or office leasing as before. We can also deliver standalone design and build projects.”

The decision to integrate further shows that Cushman & Wakefield understands the increasing importance of employee welfare. There is a global shift towards more attention to wellbeing in general, and that has now reached the workplace as well. In a recent blog post Cushman & Wakefield discussed the importance of including “workplace wellbeing” in a property strategy if you are a company that wants to be able to attract and retain talent.

That has led to all sorts of initiatives based on “New Ways of Working”. Design is usually the primary focus of these initiatives, but we already look ahead to the next step. Design is important and can be inspiring and motivating, but an office space also needs a smart approach. So we prefer to talk about “Smart Ways of Working”.

Christophe Erkens, Managing Director of C&W Design + Build said: “This is an exciting next step for us and we are proud to take on the C&W Design + Build brand. Cushman & Wakefield believes in a human-oriented approach to the workplace. Employees – human beings – have become the most important capital a business has. And no two human beings are the same, just as no two jobs are the same. So workplaces need to be approached differently, individually and smartly for every profile. Smart Ways of Working prepare companies for the future of work.”

About Cushman & Wakefield

Cushman & Wakefield (NYSE: CWK) is a leading global real estate services firm that delivers exceptional value for real estate occupiers and owners. Cushman & Wakefield is among the largest real estate services firms with approximately 51,000 employees in 400 offices and 70 countries. In 2018, the firm had revenue of $8.2 billion across core services of property, facilities and project management, leasing, capital markets, valuation and other services. For further information, please visit www.cushmanwakefield.be or follow @CushWakeBelgium on Twitter.

Human-oriented workplace development is the smarter way to approach the future of work.

By | News

The human capital is more than ever the wealth of an organization.

Companies wishing to attract and retain talent nowadays have no choice but to incorporate workplace wellbeing in their real estate strategy. However, the vast majority of recent attempts to develop “new ways of working” have been focusing way too much on design we believe human-oriented workplace development is the smarter way to approach the future of work.

Read more about it in this blog

Cochlear

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Dominique Panneels, Operations Manager Cochlear & our CEO Anthony Shaikh, celebrating their collaboration to design & build Cochlear’s new HQ in Mechelen.

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