As smaller cities vie with metros for talent, Chinese companies are smartening workplaces with innovative use of space and imaginative applications of technology.
"The idea of enhancing working environment will be recognized and accepted by more local companies," said Brandon Dewitt, a consultant at global real estate service provider CB Richard Ellis or CBRE Group Inc.
A CBRE industry report showed that Chinese companies will increasingly adopt activity-based workplace arrangements and a more flexible working environment.
So: no employee will have an assigned workstation. Instead, various high-tech activity areas will allow staff to collaborate, learn, brainstorm, socialize and relax. For example, workers will use internal efficiency-boosting apps to book meeting rooms. Sensors will monitor office space usage and suggest changes to design and layout.
A startup's empolyees at work at a co-working space in Chengdu, Sichuan province. [Photo by Wang Xiao/For China Daily]
Employees born after the 1980s seek new workplace experiences, so real estate firms are building personalized work spaces where technologies are integrated into the environment.
Many developers are eyeing emerging business districts outside of existing expensive CBDs or central business districts as rents tend to be 20 to 50 percent lower. "Decentralization in first-tier cities is becoming more common in China," said the CBRE report.
"Some office buildings in the emerging business districts are equipped with more creative layout as they are no longer short on space, which is also favored by tenants," the report stated.
Second-tier cities like Chengdu, Chongqing and Wuhan are receiving developers' attention as more companies appear to prefer to expand their business in such places with high-growth potential.
According to the report, 33 percent of companies surveyed chose Wuhan for their business expansion, making the Hubei province's capital their top choice, followed by Sichuan province's capital Chengdu (32 percent) and Zhejiang province's capital Hangzhou (26 percent).
"Some second-tier cities have had a rather rapid development of tertiary industries, and that also makes those cities a preferred choice for companies and real estate developers," said Huang Wei, consultant at CBRE China. "Chengdu, for instance, has policies to encourage the development of the fintech (financial technologies) sector.
"Some cities have announced innovative policies to attract experts and professionals. They now offer financial support for relocation from other places."
(Source: China Daily)