Young, mobile workforce driving evolution in workspaces
A younger and more mobile workforce is paving the way for businesses across the UAE to re-examine their present offices and the concept of flexible workspaces that boost productivity and allow for better work-life balance.
Experts noted that there has been an evolution in recent years revolving around the idea of flexible workspaces and that the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift toward remote working.
"It is interesting to note that even before the pandemic, advances in technology, interwoven with the new generation of the workforce, meant that workplace culture was already experiencing a paradigm shift," said Sam Tayan, managing director at Zoom in the Gulf.
"When you consider the term 'workspace' - it has somewhat lost its true meaning," he said. "It no longer defines a traditional work setting; the connotation of going to work is drifting. With people opting to go to co-working spaces, coffee shops, to stay at home, or even go outdoors, more places are deemed acceptable 'workspaces', so long as the process works for individuals and the job gets done effectively."
According to the Global Mobile Workforce Forecast Update 2016-2022 by Strategy Analytics, the global mobile workforce is expected to reach 1.87 billion by 2022.
Tayan noted that the flexible concept of a workspace is no longer a 'nice to have'.
"Being able to work remotely is business critical, and businesses are having to adapt and rethink their day-to-day operations to ensure they can successfully continue," he said.
Research by flexible workspace provider, IWG, shows that 83 per cent of people globally would choose a job which offered flexible working over a job that didn't, and that 28 per cent value being able to choose their work location over an increase in holiday allowance. In addition, 71 per cent of businesses think that offering flexible working enables them to expand their talent pool. Towards this end, 77 per cent of businesses globally are adapting to improve talent retention by introducing flexible working.
Similar research by Avanade also highlighted how organisations that adopted digital tools had benefitted across various segments. Globally, organisations witnessed a 67 per cent increase in productivity, a 53 per cent increase in employee engagement, and a 43 per cent increase in revenue by implementing digital workplaces.
Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi will soon welcome its very own co-working space when Cloud Spaces goes live. Cloud Spaces is the first co-working space to be located in a mall in the GCC region, and will offer businesses and individuals a host of comprehensive solutions including networking and mentoring programmes.
"A number of local and international businesses have already signed up, with many more in the pipeline," said Malak Smejkalova, general manager at Cloud Spaces. "As an office space designed for the future, Cloud Spaces is poised for further expansion in the UAE, the wider region and internationally."
"With growing demand for flexible working spaces across the UAE, Cloud Spaces will serve as a hub to support the growth plans of existing tenants and future tenants alike, as well as the wider business community," added Saoud Khoory, executive director of Retail, Aldar Properties.