Future of the office | Inquirer Business

Future of the office

/ 12:12 AM June 12, 2017

The workplace has gone through many changes over the past few years.

There have been advances in technology, distributed teams and locations, increasing freelance/contractor mixes, rising real estate prices and more millennials arriving in professional roles.


This evolution is not going to stop and it’s clear that the office of the future will be a very different place.

Our experience, as well as recent studies into the way workplaces are changing, give us a good picture of what these offices might look like.


In the coming years we can expect firms consolidating their offices for more efficient use, greater staff density, satellite offices and agile working increasing.

There will also be a growing need for collaborative spaces.

Let’s look at some of those things in a bit more detail.

Work environments

Distributed teams across multiple cities, countries and conditions is becoming the norm.

The mix of contract and temp staff vs full-time employees is growing.

Ultimately the way performance is measured under these new trends is undergoing a transformation.


All of these impact how the workspace may be designed and used in the future.

In many cases, daily use of a traditional office is not required.

Employees may need to simply drop in for key meetings, have access to remote locations and a network of business environments around the world when and where they require.

Technology and work culture are changing quickly to support these new flexible demands and we will explore these new concepts in the upcoming articles.


Demand for office space in Metro Manila has grown rapidly over the past two years, with the current vacancy rate in Metro Manila at an all time low of 4 percent coupled with the rising real estate prices across Metro Manila, office space will need to be used more efficiently to manage costs effectively.

For most companies, this means empowering staff with flexible working solutions, as well as fewer offices in expensive city centers.

Satellite office

The government’s ambitious infrastructure plan consists of a number of high-impact projects that will boost economic growth, and address bottlenecks that hamper economic growth in order to unlock the country’s growth potential.

As urban transport networks continue to expand, a central location will no longer be essential.

Infrastructure projects are underway from Mindanao to Clark, with a particular emphasis on metros and railway systems.

These will give talents and clients based further afield easier access to emerging business hotspots.

As real estate is often less expensive in such areas, firms can invest in small satellite offices where people can drop in as required.

The plan to move national government offices out of Metro Manila is expected to significantly contribute to decongesting Metro Manila.

The new government district in Clark is expected to move about two to three million people out of Metro Manila and result in countryside development, particularly in the provinces of Pampanga and Bataan.

The development of urban centers in those areas will spur the economic development of Northern and Central Luzon. Also, building full-fledged urban centers in the countryside will diversify the geographic drivers of economic growth.


Increased workplace density and better technology will mean that employees are no longer expected to be tied to one desk and, as a result, agile working will become more commonplace.

Business professionals will be given the option to work remotely (either from home or based within a client’s office). Hot desking will also become a regular occurrence. Staff members will be able to base themselves from the head office or a satellite office, depending on the demands of their day.


The rise in agile working will increase the need for collaborative workspaces.

As more professionals work remotely, the need for face-to-face meetings will be greater. In recent years, the growth of the flexible workspace segment in the Philippines has been undeniable.

With the estimated total stock of flexible workspaces in Metro Manila at 228,000 sq m (2.5 million sq ft), Colliers expects this number to grow by 10 percent annually in the next three years, as demand for co-working spaces is spurred by a millennial-dominated labor force.

The Philippines had more than 60 operators of flexible office spaces at end-2016, with pioneer Regus opening its first site in 1999 with almost 3,000 sq m at The Enterprise Center.

As the government and businesses look for ways to drive business growth, providing the ideal work environment for employees to work efficiently and productively while keeping costs low is key.

If I were to sum this all up, I’d say the key themes of the office of the future are efficiency, flexibility and creativity.

To meet the demands of the future, workforce management will need to think outside the box in terms of real estate investment.—CONTRIBUTED

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