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Four Things You Really Don't Understand About U.K. Office Occupiers

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Real estate professionals misunderstand office workers' amenity hot buttons, according to the latest research from international law firm CMS.

CMS's data — which surveyed 350 real estate investors, developers and agents, controlling combined assets of over £400B and over 1,000 office workers across the U.K. — shows a surge in interest in co-working, work-life balance and agile working.

Ahead of Bisnow London's Big Office Bash Wednesday, 27 September, CMS partner Clare Thomas shared the biggest myths around what office occupiers want.

Myth No. 1: The Young Are Cool About Hot Desking


Everybody likes a desk of their own, even the millennials.

When FTI Consulting researchers (on behalf of CMS) asked office workers which they valued more when choosing a place to work, agile working or more pay, the answer was clear: 89% said agile working, while just 15% opted for extra cash.

What kind of agile workplace? A permanent desk in an open-plan office came out an easy winner among all age groups. It was even more popular among the 18-34 age group (94%) than it was among the over 50s (79%).

Working from home and a permanent desk in a cellar office were slightly less popular with all age groups, and working remotely from a coffee shop or public space was a massive fail with the over 50s (23%). Hot-desking scored badly from everyone, with even the 18-34s putting it at the bottom of their list.

Myth No. 2: Everyone Loves Bike Storage


The CMS figures show property people massively overestimate the appeal of a bike rack. Around 74% of property professionals thought it was important, ranking it third out of 19 desirable office features, just behind good wireless broadband and showers/changing rooms.

But office workers rated it at 56%, second from bottom of the list. Showers and changing rooms, rated so highly by the property folk (78%) also came in fairly low for office users (58%).

Myth No. 3: There's No Shortcut To Office Workers' Affections


It turns out that there actually is. You could try free cake, for instance.

CMS data revealed the biggest gaps between what property people thought mattered — and what actually mattered — occurred around food. Free food and snacks are wildly popular — 76% of occupiers rated it — but strangely just 17% of property execs thought it was important. 

A good canteen or kitchen also revealed a big perception gap (31% property people, 68% tenants). Recycling facilities and online purchase collection lockers are also appreciably more popular than property people imagine.

Myth No. 4: Foosball Tables Are So Yesterday


If foosball tables, pool or ping-pong are out of fashion, U.K. office workers did not get the email. They still love them.

The gap between property professionals' expectations and ordinary folk was a yawning 49% on games tables, putting it in the same category as the long-standing British misunderstanding about office chairs (workers want them to be comfortable, property people do not seem so bothered, leading to a 50% gap in expectations).

Overall, the research shows that office workers really do care about work-life balance and the chance to blow off some steam.

Related Topics: CMS