The space in which a business operates can say a lot about its culture and values. Over the years, trends have shifted with businesses transforming their working environments from multiple private offices to open plan spaces.
A recent article in the Financial Times discussed how corporate reception areas have evolved from imposing and at times intimidating entrances to informal working areas. Both employees and visitors are able to enjoy the flexible spaces instead of just experiencing a waiting area.
The evolution of reception areas highlights how businesses are beginning to change how they are perceived by their employees, clients and visitors. The entrance to a building is often the first impression that someone will have of a company and informal spaces where you can see work happening offer transparency and a window to behind the scenes.
How are office spaces changing?
It's not just the reception areas of office spaces that have become more flexible and communal. Offices as a whole have become collaborative places where people are able to work in different ways. The rise of hot desking and home working has changed how people choose to interact with their colleagues and their work.
Businesses are beginning to opt for more informal settings for their employees. Cafeterias are no longer just being used at meal times and have become collaborative areas where people are able to get away from their desks and work in a new environment when needed to encourage their productivity.
Some employers see their offices as a way of attracting the best talent, using them as a channel to express their culture and enhance working life. More buildings are beginning to offer more integrated services to tenants such as childcare facilities and gym equipment.
What do landlords need to consider with office spaces?
As office work continues to become more informal, landlords need to consider how these changes will affect the buildings that they lease out. Clients will be looking for spaces that can accommodate their vision and plans for the future. Landlords who do not consider how a business' real estate needs have changed could be at risk of losing current and potential clients.
Landlords may need to assess their portfolio to understand where development may be needed to convert traditional office space to attract new clients. It may be necessary that discussions are had with current clients to understand what their needs and plans are to identify changes that may be needed.
It may be that some changes are not necessary. For example, businesses in some industries such as finance and accounting will need to be aware of the importance of confidentiality when exploring the "public" areas of their offices. Landlords who have a high proportion of clients working in the professional services will need to take this into account when fitting out the public areas of their buildings. It is good practice to understand different industries and how their needs may differ or clash.
Developing office spaces
The way a business operates will always be subject to change. Landlords should take time to understand how working trends evolve and how they could affect their clients' real estate needs.
Please contact our real estate team if you are a landlord seeking advice on the development of office spaces. We will be able to guide you through the process and what you need to consider.