The Flexible Workspace Series: Part 2
End user experience
Focusing on the end-user experience is now a top priority for businesses1, especially when choosing the office space in which a business occupies. Market research has shown that to optimise productivity and workplace satisfaction, employees require a diversity of office space2 designed for both task and personality3 with occupiers now willing to pay a premium for space that meets both their physical and technological demands4.
Flexible workspace has the competitive advantage of being able to respond quickly to emerging trends and technologies to stay one step ahead of occupier demand. A good example of this is ‘wellness’ which, according to Jones Lang LaSalle (‘JLL’), has risen to become one of the top three decision-making drivers for office space5 and is a concept which embodies everything from the building design to support mental and physical wellness of its occupants to the sustainability qualifications of buildings and their wider environmental impact.
Flexible workspace kick-started the movement away from banks of cellular offices to larger customised spaces designed with the end user in mind and well known for its employee perks from beer taps to beanbags as well as its diverse range of private relaxation spaces, event spaces and social and dining areas. Importantly, however, the conventional office market retains the ability to build and connect space with company brand and culture and deliver a tailor-made office fit out in a way that flexible workspace, with multiple occupiers, cannot. Furthermore, although an all bells and whistles modern workspace will appeal to the many, such amenities and facilities are shared amongst occupiers and since many of the flexible workspace operators operate at a high density, a conventional office can offer twice the space per desk even at the same cost per head.
As buildings are increasingly being seen as platforms and not just bricks and mortar, landlords in the conventional office market need to start seeing their real estate as providing a service to its occupiers and therefore need to better understand what occupiers are doing in their buildings and what amenities, facilities and services would enhance their user experience in order to deliver real value. Traditional landlords that do not do this could well risk missing out on the opportunity to connect their buildings to the people who occupy them, a process which might otherwise strengthen their own relationship with their occupiers.
Next week, the third part of The Flexible Workspace Series will look at the impact technology has on the flexible workspace versus the conventional office space dynamic.
1 Deloitte LLP, 2020 commercial real estate outlook, ‘Using digital and analytics to revolutionise tenant experience’, https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/industry/financial-services/commercial-real-estate-outlook.html
2 Strutt & Parker, Property Futures, Office Futures: Workshift 2016, https://www.struttandparker.com/publications/property-futures-2016
3 (n 10)
4 (n 4)
5 Sue Williams, Commercial Real Estate, ‘Wellness now a key factor for firms when choosing a new office’, 30 April 2019, https://www.commercialrealestate.com.au/news/wellness-now-a-key-factor-for-firms-when-choosing-a-new-office-831932/