Indonesia`s Future of Work
Category: Column By : Todd Lauchlan Read : 237 Date : Friday, November 10, 2017 - 08:25:26

The world is changing fast due to technology. Asia is the epicenter of that change, it is home to 54% of the world’s social media users, and even if they don’t have mains electricity, practically everyone has a smartphone. Indonesia is joining the e-economy at warp speed. One-third of the work force in the world’s fourth-most-populous country is under 30. They are demanding a different style of work and workplaces.

Jakarta has a vast amount of new office space coming on the market. Last year already set a record for new supply, and that’s due to be exceeded in 2017, when some 785,000 sqm should come on the market—half the 1.6 million sqm originally expected to be delivered by 2021.

With commodities industries such as oil, gas and mining struggling, and cutting back on space, landlords are looking for new tenants. They are hoping tech companies can fill the gap. Across Asia, tech companies currently occupy 20% of Grade A space. Tech firms have been actively seeking new offices, sometimes sizeable leases of 10,000 sqm or more, and opting for high-end space. The demand is still not enough to replace the decline from commodities, however, or fill all the new supply.

Tech giants Alibaba, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple all have a presence in the Indonesian capital. In Jakarta, tech companies accounted for 15% of total market demand over the last 12 months—so getting to 20% is a possibility. One sector that’s taking off even faster is the co-working shared offices. Co-work landlords began by demanding Grade B or Grade C space that they would overhaul and upgrade. But given the new space coming on the market, they are showing a willingness to take Grade A space if the price is right.

Jakarta’s incessant jams offers an opportunity those willing to invest in virtual technology. Virtual meetings haven’t totally taken off elsewhere, but if there’s a city that’s made for them, it’s Jakarta. Meantime, investors should be checking out sites along the MRT and LRT, meaning mass-rail linked buildings will outperform the market in the long run.

Each generation seems to demand a little more convenience and flexibility than the one before it. White-collar jobs are growing at a far faster rate than any other sector in Indonesia. But where once just having an office job was a point of prestige, it’s no longer enough. Millennials demand flexibility, a work-life balance, and increased mobility in their jobs.

Working outside the office is more common, so companies should enable that convenience. At JLL, we’ve given laptops to many staff to allow remote work. In Indonesia, much work even gets done via WhatsApp. There’s a practical benefit to open-plan offices with breakout spaces for employers. Collaborative spaces are not only more enjoyable for employees, and lead to greater teamwork, but they also save employers 15% of the total cost of a traditional office. In any event, we’re still early in the evolution of the office in Southeast Asia. 



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