For a long time, ‘amenities’ weren’t something we associated with going to work – our office buildings were designed for efficiency, not to serve us. We took our lunch with us, some soup in a Thermos, and settled for whatever teabags were in the cupboard. Slowly, in came the coffee machines, bringing with them varying pods and levels of complexity. And small changes took place in more creative office spaces – break-out areas, bike racks and pool tables started to come as standard.
The last five years have seen more rapid and wide-ranging change than ever. In order to attract and retain talent, employers need more than bike storage; they need to show they’re consciously thinking about how they look after people. And in turn, office providers must regularly check their offering stacks up.
Where will office space go from here? This is how we see it.
Everyone wants to be able to do their jobs as well as they possibly can, and to feel like they have the tools they need to stay on top of advancements in their fields. Meanwhile, employers increasingly favour a ‘grow-your-own’ approach to talent development. We think this means providers will need to equip themselves with education-focused tech spaces and to offer more seminar and events programmes.
We’re an ageing workforce and we increasingly accept blurring boundaries between our professional and private lives. When you team this with the huge pressure that’s currently on our NHS, the result is that we need employers who look out for our health (and it’s in their interests to do so). Expect to see walk-in or next-hour surgeries taking place in office spaces, especially for things like physiotherapy and dentistry.
Office space providers might think about adding zen rooms, relaxation pods and even places to nap.
Wellness culture shows no signs of abating, and mental wellbeing is high on the agenda for employers – their staff are overwhelmed with information. We need quiet zones that are truly quiet – no phones or hushed voices – perhaps with people to manage them. Office space providers might think about adding zen rooms, relaxation pods and even places to nap. It’s all in the interests of productivity, too – lunchtime yoga is no longer enough.
It’s not that we want to spend more time in the office, but that we want our offices to be appealing to us at all times of the day. It feels good to work in a space that genuinely takes part in the community. We hope for more themed events, product launches and public exhibitions.
Companies used to actively shun office spaces that had retail units on the ground floor, but now this is seen as a real bonus. A buzzy atrium makes the workplace feel more eclectic, making it more appealing to those who work there as well as those who might hope to work there one day. But more importantly, it means there are plenty of informal meeting spaces that don’t require visitors to pass through security first, vastly increasing the scope for collaboration. We’re telling you – we might all be on our phones all the time, but it’s all about those atria.