ESG-Tech convergence is shaping China’s future workplace

China's future workplaces are undergoing a transformation with the convergence of ESG strategies and technologies.

May 07, 2024

The demand for energy-efficient, sustainable, and employee-centric workplaces is on the rise in China. Companies across various industries increasingly recognise the importance of incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles into their workplace strategies. This transition is being facilitated by adopting cutting-edge technologies into office design. For example, the Internet of Things (IoT), big data analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) are transforming offices into smarter ecosystems.

According to the 2023 JLL Global Real Estate Technology Survey, an overwhelming 92% of corporate occupiers in China are willing to pay a premium for tech-enabled space, indicating their understanding of the long-term benefits such workplaces can provide.

Figure 1: The value of tech-enabled space

Source: JLL Global Real Estate Technology Survey (China part), 2023

JLL’s 2023 China PropTech Whitepaper, Navigate New Horizons, highlights the growing focus on IoT, sensors and energy management systems in shaping future workplaces. By leveraging on IoT and sensors, companies can gather real-time data on energy consumption, identify areas for improvement, and align with sustainability goals. According to the survey, these technologies have become a top priority for corporate occupiers, investors, and developers in China.

Notably, 38% of investors and developers plan to implement automated or predictive energy performance management systems. These systems utilise advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms to analyse energy data, detect patterns, and proactively optimise energy utilisation. While demand for these technologies is still evolving among occupiers, the real estate industry is increasingly recognising their substantial long-term potential.

In addition to environmental considerations, the well-being of employees has gained increasing importance for corporate occupiers when selecting office spaces. Technologies that cater to employee well-being, such as on-arrival amenities like lockers and smart takeout cabinets, as well as mini-programmes that enable easy booking of gym sessions or meeting rooms, are gaining popularity. However, there exists a disparity between the preferences of corporate occupiers and the adoption by investors and developers. Currently, less than 10% of investors and developers have plans to incorporate these technologies, compared to the preference of occupiers, standing at 28%. This presents an opportunity for landlords and property owners to prioritise and invest in technologies that address the social component of ESG.

Figure 2: Expectations and priorities between landlords and occupiers

Source: JLL Global Real Estate Technology Survey (China part), 2023

In conclusion, the integration of advanced ESG-focused technologies is shaping the future of workplaces in China, offering significant opportunities for occupiers, investors, and developers to create sustainable and employee-centric environments. By embracing these advancements, companies can align with global sustainability goals, improve employee well-being, and ultimately drive long-term success in China's dynamic business landscape.

For more details, please download “Navigate New Horizons: 2023 China PropTech Whitepaper”.