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What was The Buzz in December?

Our monthly roundup of real estate industry news.

With the majority of us back at our chosen work locations, December may already seem like a far and distant memory, but here’s a quick look back at what kept us buzzing just a few days ago.   

 

New legislation on flexible working 

At the beginning of December, the government announced that UK employees are to be given more flexible working rights. Rather than waiting the current 26 weeks, workers will have the right to ask for home and hybrid-working arrangements from the first day of a new job under measures to promote flexible working. Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, said: “This new right will help normalise conversations about flexibility at the start of the employment relationship, with significant benefits for employees in terms of wellbeing and work-life balance”.  

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ChatGPT becomes the talk of the town 

ChatGPT, a new artificial intelligence language processing tool developed by OpenAI, has taken the internet by storm. This chatbot, which can create human-like text based on inputs given, is the latest example of AI-based tools that are augmenting the way we do, and could do business. This product has great potential in customer service , using the technology to generate responses to questions which simulate human conversation. It can also create content.  

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Employees want better tech, not snacks 

To entice employees back into the office, companies have ramped up digestible perks like beverages and food, but a recent essensys survey indicated that employees don’t care about frivolous amenities – they want better technology and flexible workstations. 81% expressed frustration with their office workspace, with 56% wanting better technology to enhance their ability to work and 63% valuing flexible workspaces. Lastly, only 20% said amenities such as massage rooms or beer were enough to bring them back to the office. 

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The Trends of 2022 

Research Live asked a cross-section of the market research industry what the standout trends were for 2022. Here’s what emerged: 

  • A sense of permanent crisis;  
  • Establishing hybrid work models; and  
  • A shift in thinking about the Metaverse  

When it comes to hybrid work models, the general theme seems to be an ever-changing picture as new patterns of behaviour and requirements of businesses and employees are still emerging. Nick Baker, chief research officer at Savanta said: “How do you do something that never really existed on a mass scale before? What are the great bits and the watch outs? How does it impact different people in completely divergent ways? What does it mean for teams and culture? The thing that is totally clear is no-one has it right yet and we all need to evolve, listen to people we work with and adapt as we do so!” 

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Powered by solar 

Square Mile landmarks across London, including Tower Bridge and the Barbican Centre will be powered with renewable energy from a Dorset farm. Other places include Hampstead Heath, Guildhall, Smithfield Market and the Old Bailey. The deal will harness solar power through a £40m deal in an important stem forward in the ESG agenda.  

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Word of the year 

We may be well versed in work and workplace, but it’s quite a coup for our industry for The Economist to choose ‘hybrid work’ as the word of 2022! 

In a year with many choices: shrinkflation; decoupling; eco-anxiety; the metaverse and Oxford Dictionaries (somewhat unheard of, but chosen by public vote) Goblin mode, the Johnson’s choice is ‘neither clever nor lovely. But it is hugely consequential’. 

“After the lockdowns of 2020, followed, in 2021, by a slow return to the office, 2022 was the year that hybrid work settled in. Working at home some of the time has advantages (decongesting cities and fewer painful commutes), and disadvantages (fears of lower productivity combined with a sense of never being off duty). In the spring Twitter announced a policy of unlimited working from home for those who wanted it. When Elon Musk bought the company he promptly decreed the opposite. But most firms have not gone to either extreme, instead trying to find the best of both worlds. 

As a coinage, hybrid work is no beauty. But it will reshape cities, careers, family life and free time. That is ample qualification for a word of the year.” 

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What will 2023 bring with it?  

 

Photo by Israel Andrade on Unsplash

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