Offices in 2030 according to CBRE

Eléonore Obala
3 min2021-01-14

For the first episode 2021 of our programme "Offices in 2030", Frank Zorn is pleased to take the microphone again to welcome Mickaël Jacquemin, HR Director at CBRE France, a key player in the corporate real estate market.

CBRE made a strong choice not to translate this transition to flex office into a reduction of m2, but into a different distribution of m2 between classic work spaces and alternative spaces.

Here is a look at their transition to a more flexible and dynamic model and the human and technological support it provides.

How did you deal with the 2 confinements and the rise of teleworking?

Like any company, CBRE went through the hazards of the confinements. We were fairly well equipped, which helped us. The communication teams were strongly mobilised to circulate information and decisions. CBRE did not hesitate to communicate even when we did not have the answers.

Before the crisis, we were on a rhythm of 2 days of telework per month (written in our telework charter). Today we are on one day per week. Each company has its own DNA, needs and flexibility.

Telework does not resonate in the same way for all professions and varies according to the population. If you are used to being in the office all day, teleworking can be complicated.

Let's talk about your offices! CBRE switched to Flex Office almost 3 years ago, how did you manage this transition?

We worked on this project for a year to get it in place before the move. There was an observation and study phase with several organisational proposals. Of course, we involved our employees at every stage of the project. We took advantage of the move to bring certain teams together so that they could work better together on certain subjects (HR and Finance in particular).

Today, we have a total of 8,000 m2 spread over 2 sites (Prony and Wagram) with around 450 permanent workstations and more than 500 alternative workstations (shared spaces such as the RISE café, office for a day, etc.).

Our project was not at all to save on space, but to increase our collaborative spaces.

We fitted out our premises gradually. Initially, we established a "Zoning": allocation of privileged spaces for a particular team. It is important that they have their own space.

Then we created convivial spaces where there are many informal exchanges, the "RISE" café for example (CBRE values: Respect, Integrity, Service, Excellence). There are also rooms for reflection and presentation/projection for our clients. We always want to have collective spaces to discuss, exchange and create synergies. It is in the collaborative spaces that there is the most interaction between the different teams.

How is all this Flex Office activity managed?

We have installed a technology (integrated into the employees' badges, 100% anonymous and provided by Schneider) which allows us to track movements, measure which spaces are the most occupied and know in real time which offices are free when we arrive in the morning.

Adjustments are always necessary despite everything: for example, on Mondays we have had to adapt the timetables for the meeting rooms because traditionally the teams meet on Monday morning to start the week. With the crisis too: we can't do 100% flex: the offices are occupied for the day (not interchangeable during the day).

The interesting thing about flex is that we can still adapt. The space can still be arranged and we can reallocate spaces freely.

Let's talk about culture. We are in the 10th month of Covid, how has your culture evolved?

CBRE's DNA is still there, but we feel that our employees want and need to see each other. At the moment, we have to curb the physical exchanges, we restrict ourselves now to be happier afterwards!

We have kept the annual appraisal interviews but we feel that feedback should be present all year round. The difficulty for managers throughout the year has been to continue to carry out daily follow-ups.

A good example of a successful transition to the Flex Office, which allows for better project synergy.

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