In addition to all the other stuff that I can get nerdy about, (virtual reality, market trends, automation, artificial intelligence, customer service, education, etc) I am fascinated with economics, population, and productivity. I was digesting this report from the McKinsey Global Institute and proprietary research from Colliers’ Workplace Innovation Team showing that the United States is going to hit peak employee population around 2020. Between baby boomer retirement and stagnant population growth, there won’t be enough people to replace the aging population.
This fascinates me on a macro level as I wonder where growth will come from (I’m hoping for improved productivity via automation and AI) and on a personal level, where office demand will come from. If I’m a landlord that is trying to serve office users, I’m facing shrinking tenant demand as companies:
- Consolidate their footprints to maximize productivity and cut costs
- Demand highly amenitized space to compete for a shrinking employee pool
- Evolve their infrastructure to accommodate automation and AI
- Require flexible workplaces to scale for contract employees
A big chunk of office stock must be re-purposed for alternate uses. Whether its residential, medial, logistics, or something I haven’t thought about, it’s going to require creativity and capital.