The latest trends in the use of office space and various configurations are likely to have an effect on both sales and leasing of business property. But what will office spaces look like and what effect will this have on commercial sales? There’s likely to be less space but more flexible use of it and more shared space, allowing more facilities to be added.
1. Collaboration is the name of the game
Most people know the tale of the company that began life in a basement back room yet had a great vibe and strong motivation. With time, the company expanded and moved to a proper office space. This was largely traditional with rooms with windows. However, the change wasn’t positive in the long run and the team became demotivated.
The point is that every company can reach the stage where the lose their original drive. A team moving into offices that negatively impact on what it does, will in turn have a negative impact on their production levels. So wouldn’t it be better to have a working environment more conducive to collaboration? One that supports the balance of time out to think as well as time to integrate as a team?
2. Large private offices are a thing of the past
In a different kind of working environment, team members have compact workstations set out a little like the seating banks in modern train carriages. Instead of having a board room somewhere else in the premises, it’s right amidst the workstations. All team members are within earshot of each other and are full of ideas which emanate from individual workstations as well as the central space.
3. Welcoming shared private spaces
Using the basic knowledge about human interactions, space planning can recreate the entrepreneurial feel without doing away with privacy all together. For example, rather than workstations being 8x9-feet in dimension, they could slim down to 8x8 feet. The saved space could then be used to create a small space with a door and a couple of armchairs, a table, power and an internet connection. A communal phone connection to be shared among five employees.
Employees can retreat to this space when needing time out to browse their notes, write or carry out research on their laptops. If they need to make private calls, they could move from their positions to this private area and close the door. Such privacy can’t be found in today’s buildings, which are very much about the open plan look and usage, sacrificing people’s privacy.
4. Employees need somewhere to touch down
Attitudes are changing towards the notion that employees must be deskbound to deliver quality work results. Nowadays, people are far less deskbound and more out in the field, remote or mobile. Take, for example, IT service technicians, who seldom need to be at their desks. However, when they do need to touch down, their work spaces must be functional. Difficulty accessing plug sockets or logging on to the Wi-Fi won’t do anyone any favours. So, when these employees do visit their office, they must have a suitable working area. This could be a small desk and a space of around 5x6 feet. In this area, there should be email access, telephone access and some limited filing or storage space.
5. Managers need to reconsider technology
All managers need to be up to speed with the latest technology. Laptops, mobile phones, tablets and cloud storage solutions all means that employees are able to work remotely. Therefore, design within a company needs to keep up with these developments. Employees won’t find services very useful if they’re more than 10 to 15 feet away, especially in terms of their visual impact. Also, management must lead by example. A senior manager could move out of their office, use central storage facilities for non-essential files and keep essential files with them. Overall, this will make a good impression. Essentially, they need to ‘free’ themselves by using modern technology. Those companies who aren’t yet ready to do this must have a more traditional plan. Although competition and the property costs are forcing many companies to reconsider their working spaces and the way they think about these.
6. Planning based on activities Is critical for designing working spaces.
This strategy involves rethinking how buildings are used based on activities. At the start of the working day, checking email and voice messages is important. After touch down, there could be a meeting. Why not have this in an open conference space, if it isn’t confidential? Otherwise staff could retreat to a private space.
Although having smaller spaces, employees would have a wider range of ways to spend their time at work. There could be a coffee area or a cafe, a library and resource centre and several private rooms, each with a sofa, desk, chair, Wi-Fi and phone connections.
7. Those present get the largest spaces
A large proportion of space is traditionally allocated by importance in the company hierarchy. But things are likely to change to reflect how much time an employee actually spends in the workplace. So, for example, a technician working on a project who is in the building for over 60% of the time will be allocated a bigger space than anyone who spends less time there. This could see senior managers giving up their large offices for smaller ones and technicians working on critical projects getting larger working areas.
8. The rule of ‘one size fits all’ doesn’t apply
Some jobs require an employee to be tired to a particular place, e.g. airline check-in desk staff who answer the phone and deal with customers. As an example, jobs that require staff to answer the phone may need staff to interact with one another and consult each other to solve customers' problems. If they need to put the customer on hold to seek help, an open space would enable them to consult their neighbour sitting next to them. So, Interaction must be seriously considered when planning space.
9. Less wall space means more interaction space.
The traditional office is perhaps in a high-rise building, with private offices lining the walls and secretaries at the front desk. Of the total number of staff, many of these will be senior executives. Around 60% of the space will be open and the remainder closed off.
The latest offices have retained two sides to this traditional layout but removed all the offices on the remaining two sides to let the daylight in. The interior has cubicles to accommodate more people. The total amount of space behind the doors equals about 17%.
So, the use of space is different and people are demanding greater flexibility. This, in turn, means lower costs in terms of construction and improvement. 40% of private office space requires considerable drywall area. Shrinking the private office space to around 17% cuts down on drywall space by between 33-50%.
10. Intelligent use of wall space
The ideal end result for the best use of space is a building shell that connects to its infrastructure. Wall spaces will be equipped with technology that connects to the furniture, which in turn connects to the flooring and the post and beam systems. Under the flooring will be electrical systems which connect to the furniture and the lighting. Walled spaces will be private/personal areas although they can be dismantled and moved as and when required. Such is the vision of the ideal 21st century office.
The latest trends in the use of office space and various configurations are likely to have an effect on both sales and leasing of business property. But what will office spaces look like and what effect will this have on commercial sales? There’s likely to be less space but more flexible use of it and more shared space, allowing more facilities to be added. 1. Collaboration is the name of the game Most people know the tale of the company that began life in a basement back room yet had a...
- Year 2017
- Work started in 2016
- Work finished in 2017
- Status Research/Thesis
- Type Office Buildings / Business Centers / Corporate Headquarters / Offices/studios / Interior Design / Custom Furniture / Graphic Design / Photography