Workspace As A Service: The New Office Trend Changing The Way People Work
Over the last decade, coworking spaces, corporate campuses and a rise in remote work have all turned the traditional office on its head. But perhaps the most recent innovation in office design is the idea of workspace as a service and the heightened focus on the impact of office design. The concept of "workspace as a service" entered the forefront of office debate in 2018, gaining traction among landlords, occupiers and developers alike.
The commercial real estate industry has come to realise the workplace is a shopfront for attracting and retaining talent. The curation of buildings has become more competitive, and as a result, landlords are exploring how customer service and wellness impact a building’s rental value.
“We have seen the rise of amenity space in office schemes. Landlords are beginning to appreciate that while this space may not directly generate rent, it will add to the overall value of the building,” Savills Director of Property Management John Redfern said. “This includes breakout areas, cafés and restaurants, roof terraces and space designed to feel more like a private members’ club than an office.”
The office is also taking on an identity that resembles the hospitality industry. Landlords and property management companies are embracing new ways to welcome guests into office schemes with an emphasis on the customer journey. Building managers are experimenting with new ways to improve the tenant experience, making workers feel excited to go to work each day.
In some buildings, these efforts have resulted in an emphasis on providing tenants and visitors with an efficient experience upon entry.
We are starting to see some reception desks become a thing of the past," Redfern said. "Instead, new technology allows visitors to sign in ahead of their arrival, or use an automated system to let someone in the building know they have arrived."
Tech innovation also supports the collection of data from users in the building to track and improve their journey, while providing a platform to share information. Screens throughout the building and in elevators provide news and information to workers who may not have time to check the news, Redfern said. These screens can also be used to broadcast building-specific news and events such as social gatherings and building closures.
Technological advancements continue to change the way people do business. So much so, that when looking for their next office space, many potential tenants only consider buildings that offer reliable cellular connectivity infrastructure. Building connectivity, which was once considered a nice-to-have amenity, has become a requirement.
"It's becoming more of a trend to ask why there isn't service and there are several big-time real estate players that are just now waking up and realising that this in-building wireless thing is real," Scott Gregory, director of marketing at Distributed Antenna Systems equipment vendor SOLiD, said to PCMag. "They're saying, 'If we don't get onboard, our properties will lose value,' and that's a major consideration."
Technology has also entered the office realm through the rise of PropTech, which has emerged as a digital avenue for tenants to engage with their space. Through mobile apps and tenant engagement platforms, property managers and landlords can find out who their tenants are and what kind of amenities they want from their office space. PropTech provides another way for property managers to best serve the evolving needs of their tenants. It also offers an opportunity for landlords to customize their buildings based on what their tenants want, keeping building occupants engaged and leading to increased retention rates.
One of the most requested amenities in office buildings has also been access to wellness. According to a report from Forth, 85% of adults in the U.K. experience stress regularly, and work is one of the most common sources of stress, second only to money. More companies and organisations are looking to boost morale in the workplace, and buildings have an increasingly important role to play in employee wellness. Landlords and property managers can help tenants maintain healthy lifestyles throughout the workday by making small adjustments, like creating large, walkable office spaces or placing plants and green areas throughout the building.
“The rise of serviced offices provided a new flexibility whereby the worker could come to question the age-old ways of office working, and as attitudes have shifted, traditional landlords are making changes, too,” Redfern said. “Today’s landlords are not simply managing a building, but are now competing to offer the very best customer service for their tenants.”
This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and Savills. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.