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Future-proofing workplaces for tomorrow’s workspaces

James Keeton / 19 July 2017

Change is coming to the workplace - firms need to take action today

James Keeton, suggests a workplace designed on today’s needs and assumptions could be redundant in little more than a decade, unless firms take action today.

With the recent news that WeWork is opening its first regional office in the UK and the unrelenting march of workspace providers in London, it is pertinent to note that change is coming to the workplace, as advancing technology and data driven insights now fuel new ways of working.

Landlords and properties need to adapt

Both landlords and their property will have to adapt as workplaces designed on today’s needs and assumptions could be redundant in little more than a decade.

Technology and organisational changes are dramatically transforming occupier requirements. For me, meeting tenants’ needs for connected buildings is increasingly important given how closely linked the worlds of business and technology have now become.

Being alert to change is vital

Conversely, I see that leading developers are already identifying ways to use emerging technology, and are ensuring that their buildings cater for the demands of the modern and ever-changing occupier."

Future-proofing in the Midlands is already here: Local developer Bildurn is set to deliver 50,000 sq ft of office space via a bespoke development of 11 Station Street in the city, targeting a new wave of occupier.

In a world that is constantly evolving, being alert to change is vital.

How can firms take steps today to put them in a better position tomorrow?

Through drawing on our global experience of office design and understanding occupiers requirements, I believe there are number of changes that can help future-proof offices.

Workplaces need to be more modular and suitable for cost effective redesign, whilst accelerator, incubator and innovation spaces will be a core component of real estate and innovation strategy.

In addition, as companies become more dependent on the speed and resilience of communication networks, optimal connectivity will become a key competitive advantage.

Drab, airless offices aren’t good for anyone. Better design, can help improve air-quality, make the most of natural light and create active workplaces.

Data will empower occupiers to align space configuration with business outcomes.

Sensors and smart systems are already appearing in many offices to measure how buildings are used. In the coming years, I think these will enter the workplace at a rapid rate to not only improve the operational efficiency of buildings, but also generate huge volumes of data on workplaces and the people who use them. This data will lead the design of physical space, empowering occupiers to align the configuration of their spaces with business outcomes.

User experience will become an increasingly crucial factor in the workplace design. Offices with generous food and beverage provisions, kitted out with gyms, games and recreation spaces are becoming increasingly common as firms compete for top talent.

James Keeton is Agency & Development Director with JLL in Nottingham
T: +44 115 908 2141