Nov 21, 2019 in Viewpoint

NYC Real Estate Tech Week: are we asking too much of our employees?

Last week, I’ve visited the Real Estate Tech Week in the city that never sleeps. One of the reasons was my nomination for the Women In PropTech Awards. I'm honored to have been nominated and to attend a gala full of inspiring women that are all passionate about our industry. But also, I’ve attended MIPIM, with this year's theme: Matching User Expectations. One of the talks that stood out the most was the opening keynote of Lisa Picard.

Anne Wernand
by Anne Wernand
Mapiq New York City
Employees are going to have more dynamic and broader functions, which will most likely change in each project they are doing

It's all about new skills and adaptability

Lisa is President and Chief Executive Officer of EQ Office, a company that creates great spaces that maximize human potential, particularly in this age of rapid automation and technological advancements. She told a story that I’ve heard a couple of times before, but she told it with so much more liveliness that it hasn’t left my mind since. Let’s start with a couple of facts Lisa shared:

• 50% of all organizations will reduce their workforce
• 38% of the employees are going to do more things than their function profile initially beholds
• 54% of the employees are going to need significantly more training and learn new skills
• The hire for new roles will increase by 25%
• The workforce will be more flexible and work more remotely

To me, this feels like a lot of uncertainty and pressure on our adaptability and flexibility. Employees are going to have more dynamic and broader functions, which will most likely change in each project they are doing. This means they have to learn new skills to keep up with the new developments. And those skills might not be that easy to learn.

"The rising skills are of little surprise, but the soft skills are also ones that will be highly important globally going forward."

Feon Ang, vice president for Talent and Learning Solutions, Asia Pacific, LinkedIn

How can space support our brains unfocus network?

But what happens to the brain when we’re constantly asking it to adjust, adapt and be ‘on’ all the time? Well, employees are then not using their so-called unfocus network enough. To be more specific: the human brain has three different networks. The unfocus network uses more energy than the other two networks, consuming 20% of the body’s energy while at rest. As you can imagine, this network is doing anything but resting, even though it operates largely under the conscious radar. But when you turn your focus brain off, it will retrieve memories and link ideas so that you become more creative. No wonder then, with all these functions on board, this network metaphorically converts your brain into a crystal ball, allowing you to predict things more accurately too. As employers, we should make sure employees are able to get into this state.

"Space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done."

Tim Kreider, author for The New York Times

Simplify the office experience

I went to the NYC Real Estate Tech Week with high expectations of the future of buildings, but I came back with the knowledge that even for real estate people, it’s going to be about the people in those buildings. Making sure they are supported in the best way possible, so they can enjoy work-life, contribute to the company and most importantly, feel happy. So we have to keep this in mind, knowing what the future will expect from employees. Let’s try to keep things simple, give our brain a little break sometimes – to focus, connect and restore. Companies as the EQ Office are brilliant in creating spaces that could facilitate employees through these expectations and instability. At Mapiq, we believe smart technology has an essential part add to this story. It makes it able to help employees simplify choices and get around the office faster and without any effort.

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