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How 9/11 changed the workplace

05 September 2011

Results from a survey suggest that the tragic events of 9/11 had a permanent effect on the workplace.

The survey, conducted by CoreNet Global, found that 75% of the respondents believe that companies in general are as vigilant about security measures today as they were in the aftermath of 9/11. The focus on risk management as an intrinsic strategic planning and management function also grew stronger.

“Business disruption planning became a common element for many corporate workplace and asset managers as a result of 9/11,” said Richard Kadzis, Editor of LEADER Magazine and Vice President, Strategic Communications for CoreNet Global. “Elements of this planning include mobile work plans for employees, facility collocation policies, redundant facilities, energy back up, business continuity plans, and off-site data storage.”

“While technology advances and the 2009 recession would have facilitated the trend toward mobile work, before then 9/11 demonstrated the value of so-called ‘distributed work,’ in which employees are contributing toward the final product from various locations, including the home,” Kadzis said. “Before 9/11, the scale of flexible workplace strategies was limited more to companies we used to call the ‘leading-edge’ adopters.”

Some respondents in the survey indicated a reluctance to lease space in high-rise office buildings, yet nearly all (84%) believed that the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site in Manhattan will be a commercial success, and more than 40% said that they would consider leasing space at the site.

“Companies learned a lot from the events of 9/11,” Kadzis added. “For example, Shell Oil Company’s response to Hurricane Katrina was a highly-coordinated series of steps designed beforehand to enable communication with 10,000 impacted employees in the Gulf Coastal region, provision of supplies and ground transportation, guidelines for restarting operations, and even temporary housing – all with a critically-clear chain of command.”

Recent CoreNet Global Corporate Real Estate 2020 related research findings indicate that 40% of workers in developed economies and 20% of workers in emerging economies will be teleworking by the year 2020.

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