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Future of Workspaces

What do tenants want?

Future of Workspaces.

Why does it matter?

If you have commercial property, you need to attract occupiers and tenants. You will need to understand what these people are looking for, and how they are thinking about workspace, to create the right product.

 

Neil Thompson – GPE’s ex Director – says, “In the minds of occupiers, offices have gone from being a utility cost, to being a tool to drive productivity and retain talent”

01 / Identity

Olly Olsen, the CEO of The Office Group says, “Where cost and location were king, now bosses are asking whether workplaces fit their brand, whether they reflect the people who are going to be there and whether they work for the community. The workplace is reinventing itself as a place where people enjoy working.”

Organisations have become increasingly aware of their own ‘brand’ and company culture; and how this is manifest. Outside of the digital realm, their offices are the strongest expression of their identity. Businesses now realise that an office that has strong street presence, and/or reflects their values, is an advantage in a competitive marketplace.

 

This in turn affects commercial values. At 3 Harbour Exchange, in South Quay, we found that by remodelling the entrance experience to an existing office, the perception of the building was altered sufficiently for baseline rents to rise from £25/ft2 to £35/ft2, and the entire building subsequently sold to a Chinese investor as their headquarters.

02 / Maximising Productivity

A British Land survey in 2016 found that 69% of businesses agreed that improving the design of their office boosted productivity.

Maximising productivity is achieved by providing a choice of working environments, to allow workers to tailor their working environment to their preferences, which can change from task to task. This requires built-in flexibility of the environment.

From a landlord’s perspective, thoughts about ‘flexibility’ often start and end with shorter lease terms, but from a tenant perspective it includes a myriad of other considerations.

The adaptability of a workplace to fit company culture is crucial, along with the ability to continue adapting over time as the company grows and evolves. The ability to divide floorplates, and create different types of space on the same floor is key. The traditionally overlooked quirky and characterful spaces offer some of the greatest potential.

02 / Maximising Productivity

A British Land survey in 2016 found that 69% of businesses agreed that improving the design of their office boosted productivity.

Maximising productivity is achieved by providing a choice of working environments, to allow workers to tailor their working environment to their preferences, which can change from task to task. This requires built-in flexibility of the environment.

From a landlord’s perspective, thoughts about ‘flexibility’ often start and end with shorter lease terms, but from a tenant perspective it includes a myriad of other considerations.

The adaptability of a workplace to fit company culture is crucial, along with the ability to continue adapting over time as the company grows and evolves. The ability to divide floorplates, and create different types of space on the same floor is key. The traditionally overlooked quirky and characterful spaces offer some of the greatest potential.

04 /Choice

One of the founding principles of wellness is the extent to which individuals are in control of their environment. Although a great deal of this will be defined by the organisation, the base build should not prevent individuals interacting with their environment.

A 2016 survey by YouGov/Savills/BCO revealed the astonishing statistic that although 80% of the workforce felt that temperature control was important in an office environment only 29% were actually satisfied with their present workplace.

Openable windows will always be preferable to fixed. Localised heating and cooling provide inherent flexibility and control, as well as being much more affordable than a ‘total building solution’. The rule of thumb: keep it as simple and low-tech as possible; it will be the most cost effective, and allow for the greatest level of individual control. A true win-win.

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