Oxford Properties Group

Oxford Properties Group

December 03, 2013 00:01 ET

Location, Location, Location: A Shorter Commute, Access to Amenities and Collaborative Work Environments are Key Drivers of Employee Satisfaction, Retention

Oxford Properties' Destination Collaboration: The Future of Work study reveals Canadians not willing to compromise quality of life for the perfect job

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Dec. 3, 2013) - Technology may be closing the time and distance gap for some of today's workers, but the physical office space remains an important collaborative destination for most Canadians. However, reducing commute time is so important to Canadian employees that one third of those surveyed said they would be willing to work an extra three hours per week for a reasonable commute to the office, according to the Destination Collaboration: The Future of Work study by Oxford Properties and Environics Research Group.

Canadians surveyed identified accessibility and commuting as the most valued attributes in a workplace, with 76 per cent indicating they want a reasonable commute to the office. In fact, 50 per cent of respondents state that commute time is the number one factor that would cause them to choose one employer over another when all else is held constant.

"Employees and job seekers are placing an even greater emphasis on the value of their time and the transit options of a workplace," says Andrew McAllan, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Real Estate, Oxford Properties "Optimizing office location and transit accessibility in conjunction with collaborative spatial design and a wide variety of amenities, will be crucial selling points for employers to attract and retain the brightest, most loyal employees."

Eighty two per cent of overall respondents feel that a commute time of less than 30 minutes is the appropriate travel time to work. Close to 40 per cent of respondents also want their workplace to be close to lifestyle amenities, such as shops, restaurants and gyms to better balance their work and personal life priorities in a given day.

The rise of the collaborative worker

Although commuting is becoming a greater consideration for many employees and job seekers, the office space is far from obsolete as collaborative work cultures and environments are on the rise. In fact, 57 per cent of respondents said they collaborate more than they did five years ago.

"Employees want face-to-face interaction with colleagues and designated collaborative work spaces to learn from colleagues, be creative and thrive," says McAllan.

To accommodate this, organizations are embracing multi-concept layouts with both private offices and open concept spaces, and incorporating collaboration hubs into the mix to encourage greater connectivity and creative interaction.

Surprisingly, the more tech and social media savvy Generation Y demographic - comprising one third of Canada's population and the next wave of the country's active labour force - place a greater importance on being physically in the office, with 79 per cent defining collaboration as working together in the same space in person. In comparison, only 59 per cent of boomers feel that collaboration means working face-to-face.

Other highlights from the study include:

  • 44 per cent of respondents value a workplace that is easily accessible by public transit or within walking/biking distance (35 per cent)

  • Generation Y is more likely than any other age group to work three extra hours per week for access to on-site or nearby lifestyle amenities

  • Despite greater flexible workplace options offered by employers, working from home is not the norm with the average respondent working only 1.8 days from home per month

"Organizational culture is greatly influenced by direct human and environmental interaction, and there's a great deal of collaborative innovation that happens within the four walls of an office. To encourage talent to participate in this physical space, smart organizations will recognize that finding an optimal office location is not only a job seeker's choice, but a strategic responsibility of the employer to attract and retain the most engaged employees," says McAllan.

In addition to the rising importance of commuting and office accessibility, the study explored other workplace factors affecting the future of work, including collaborative work environments, demographic shifts, work-life integration and environmental sustainability. To access the full Destination Collaboration: The Future of Work whitepaper by Oxford Properties, click here.

Research Methodology

The Future of Work survey was commissioned by Oxford Properties and conducted by Environics Research Group throughout June 2013.

This survey was conducted as an online study with 2,009 Canadian office workers, drawn from a panel that has been recruited to be reflective of the general population profile. The survey has regional representation among office workers in major Canadian industries.

About Oxford

Oxford Properties Group is a global platform for real estate investment, development and management, with over 1,700 employees and $25 billion of real assets that it manages for itself and on behalf of its co-owners and investment partners. Established in 1960, Oxford has regional offices in Toronto, London and New York, and the company's portfolio includes approximately 50 million square feet of office, retail, industrial, multi-family and hotel properties. Oxford is the real estate arm of the OMERS Worldwide Group of Companies. For more information about Oxford visit: www.oxfordproperties.com.

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