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Future Foretold – Conversations at Cushman & Wakefield

Xian Yang Wong • 07/09/2022

We hosted our first edition of Conversations at Cushman & Wakefield at CapitaSpring, where we welcomed our clients into our new workplace.

Despina Katsikakis, Global Lead, Total Workplace and Andrew Phipps, Head of Business Development, EMEA & Global Futurist shared key trends that will shape the future of work and of our cities and the session was moderated by Anshul Jain, Managing Director, India & South-East Asia at Cushman & Wakefield.


Where are we

Hybrid work is reshaping the office landscape, with many companies moving to hybrid and activity-based working. But it is important to recognise that many of the trends that the world is experiencing now are trends that have been in play for a long time. Pre-pandemic, many leading organisations were embracing mobile technology and opting for greater flexibility and activity-based working. The pandemic impacted many aspects of the work environment. 

The two most being:  

  1. The scale and speed of adoption of remote working due to mobility restrictions.
  2. Increased trust from managers. 90% of people felt trusted by their managers to work remotely; an up from 35%.  

In the new normal, real estate becomes the amplifier of hybrid behaviour and continues to be  critical, as it is the place that builds culture, connection to people, connection to brands and inspires people to be with one another. So, the office needs to move from a place which is designed around very functional requirements, to a much more curated learning and social environment.

What’s Next for Organisations

There is no one-size fit all solution due to different cultures across regions, different structures and process across organisations. As such, multinational organisations can’t simply roll out a rigid global programme for hybrid work and expect good results across regions. 

Organisations can look to align or integrate three aspects of the business that used to be working in silos, namely, Real estate, technology, and HR policies and training. These three aspects need to come together and is crucial for the new normal of hybrid work.


Despina shared that we have increased virtual collaboration by over 250% in the last few years, it is now hurting our mental physical wellbeing and damaging culture. While we can work on process elements, we are not focusing on elements that build a culture which are the moments in between the means. 

One of the most important elements around building culture is rethinking the processes and starting to reengineer the work process and leverage technology in to create more effective asynchronous collaboration. It becomes increasingly important to create spaces that accentuate the moment in between the means. We can use the synchronous face-to-face and virtual time more intentionally and meaningfully, leading us to then use physical space in the office intentionally and meaningfully and build activities that create culture.

What’s Next for Landlords

The biggest challenge for landlords is being able to identify where to invest in to make an impact amidst all the noise.

Occupiers need to identify:

  1. What are the underlying reasons people come to the office? 
  2. What are the things that will make a real impact for them? 
  3. Which case is worth investing in and differentiating? 

The other element that is important to introduce and we are seeing more is that occupiers will expect flex and on-demand space and they will expect landlords to provide flex on demand. There are many service-related expectations that in a more dynamic world of work that have been shifted from the occupier to the landlord.

Cities of the future

Cities are changing as people are living in cities in different ways. Andrew Phipps highlighted that a key aspect that will deeply impact the future of the cities will be the age profile inhabiting one; with a country like Nigeria’s average age being in late teens to a country like France averaging in mid-fourties.  

The office is where people come to connect, and cities can amplify that effect many times. The key aspects of cities going forward are how we improve transit and infrastructure and lower the barriers to go to the office. Cities are becoming places that aren’t just for work or leisure time, they have become a place to connect to many people at a much bigger scale than before.

Watch the video for the highlights of the event.



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