What Commercial Property Owners Need To Know About The Future of the Workspace
Many news media outlets bang their drums with headlines like, “The Office, As We Know It, Is Dead.” Their articles described what so many of us were experiencing in real time, “Bustling skyscrapers and office parks packed with workers could be a relic of the pre-pandemic world.” What’s not accounted for, however, is human nature. That is, humans are one of the most social species of all mammals.
We need each other not only to survive, but to thrive, innovate, create, and feel the weight of our work push and pulse toward a common goal. Yes, morning commutes can suck (unless you’re biking to work and arriving at a Five At Heart facility, in which case they’re pure joy). And yes, there are some days when going into the office gives you a case of the Mondays.
But when you’re locked down for a sixth consecutive week with only a computer screen and a meowing cat for interaction, your work-life balance has become more of a work-work balance, which is to say, not a balance at all.
Productivity Is Being Redefined
In March of this year, Microsoft released a landmark study that highlighted urgent trends that many large and small businesses are now beginning to implement as cities start to reopen.
First on the list was: “Flexible work is here to stay.” Which is to say, “Employees want the best of both worlds: 73 percent of [more than 30,000] workers surveyed want flexible remote work options to continue, while at the same time, 67 percent are craving more in-person time with their teams.”
The report goes on to state: “Employee expectations are changing, and we will need to define productivity much more broadly — inclusive of collaboration, learning, and wellbeing to drive career advancement for every worker, including front line and knowledge workers, as well as for new graduates and those who are in the workforce today.”
What This Means For Commercial Property Owners
With an increasingly decentralised workforce, it’s clear that ‘location location location’ is no longer a mantra commercial property owners can rely upon. The new mantra must be ‘flexibility flexibility flexibility.’ And we couldn’t agree more.
Commercial property owners have an opportunity to position their business (or to partner with a company that can help) as a consultant who can help their tenants navigate this hybrid workforce. McKinsey and Company — one of the largest management consultant firms in the world — wrote in a recent article that, “Commercial property owners must deliver compelling value propositions that go beyond a mere ‘four walls’ to solutions that create convenient experiences, measure in-space factors, and generate insights about what happens within those spaces.’
This sentiment is also reflected in Microsoft’s Work Trend Index, which outlines three key factors that businesses should put at the centre of their plans for the future: policy, physical space, and technology. All of this is to say, you don’t have to choose form over function.
Form and function
In an increasingly polarised world where black and white opinions often serve as clickbait fodder, it’s important to step back and understand that the grey area (i.e. the hybrid space) is not only where most people are comfortable, but where most people thrive.
Remote work doesn’t have to mean that employees no longer come to the office, and form doesn’t have to disregard function. Indeed, function over form will no longer be tolerated by employees who can just as easily work from home. The workplace should draw people in. “Occupiers,” write McKinsey and Co., “will increasingly focus on making the workplace an exciting place to be, recognising that the next-best alternative for most employees — their homes — has turned out to be better than they had imagined.”
Offices should therefore be specifically designed for hybrid work where collaboration and focus are not mutually exclusive. It’s the drum we’ve been beating at Five At Heart for a long time.
How We Can Help
Five at Heart has been designing and delivering innovative products that transform spaces for over 13 years – and we’ve recently launched a range of products designed for the modern workplace.
Let us show you how your space can look and feel with flexibility at its core. Our “Super Shell” offering maximizes the fit-out (or spec suite) investment by leveraging customizable and modular products and framing key features, views, and paths of travels so the core space rarely needs tweaks in future.
Cycle Heart Rate
Because bike commuting will continue to rise, especially in light of the pandemic, it is crucial to create an equal arrival experience for all users of your space from pedestrians, bikers, scooter riders, to drivers. We can conduct a Cycle Heart Rate evaluation to see how your space compares to international standards and what areas you can enhance to boost your score.
Our new Project Portal has a new benchmarking functionality that will provide benchmarks for bike racks, lockers, showers, and more based on your building information.
If you just want to see the beautiful projects we’ve worked on, head over to our Inspiration Gallery where you can filter our projects by City, Address, Designer, and Product (Subject). Get inspired!
We are always here to help. Contact us with any questions, comments, or if you just want to chat.