Editor: In response to your article on JLL’s Future of Work survey, which reveals that hybrid working is critical to real estate’s future, I wanted to share some insights into the accompanying rapid changes in people management.

While hybrid working brings a host of benefits, it has also brought challenges around productivity, connectivity and happiness at work.

Fundamental to overcoming such barriers is adoption of new digital technologies. We have had to find ways to automate processes involving recruiting and onboarding the best new talent, as well as connecting with and rewarding current employees.

As a people-centric company, we wanted to ensure that this transition prioritised human concerns as much as institutional ones. Our focus for automation has been on uniform processes to create things such as paperless onboarding and digital contracts.

This has created more time to do what we do best: connect with people, get to know them, work out their individual needs and provide personalised support with their careers. Paradoxically, the aim is to draw people out of emails and use face-to-face contact to build relationships.

A really important point for real estate firms is that automation does not mean loss of corporate identity and sense of fun. Job-offer letters, for example, can be light and fun and contain informal information such as what people should expect on their first day or what their email address will be – things that immediately make them feel part of the team.

Similarly, intranet systems can be programmed to automatically ‘celebrate’ the arrival of new team members with an announcement to the group. But in true hybrid fashion, it is important to back this up with announcements from leaders when people come together in person.

In the near future, further innovations will enable even better people-focused decision-making. I’m particularly excited by the advancement of technologies surrounding the enhancement of employee wellness and health.

For example, companies will be able to use AI-based algorithms to predict whether teams are feeling irritated, stressed or happy and make recommendations for interventions to help provide support where necessary.

Great change might be afoot but one principle will always remain true: take care of your people and your corporate culture will take care of itself, irrespective of where your team is located.

Sean Greathead, head of people and talent, MAPP