Will we still work from offices in 2022? More people say we will, even if we are looking towards a unique mix of work from the office, our own homes, our employer’s hubs or remotely from a beach. The office remains important as it helps us be more productive and, a PWC survey says, it helps build relationships and collaborate better with our peers.
We might look towards what is called a hub and spoke model, with a central office and multiple other satellite spaces people can choose to work from – which enhances the idea of a more hybrid style, with employees coming together at a hub or working from their homes, other office spaces or from wherever fits them best.
If you too feel that you and your team could benefit from an office, used as flexible as you need, we’ve put together a list of things you might want to take into account before signing the lease agreement.
Location remains one of the most important factors to consider when leasing a space.
If your team is willing to come to the office after having worked remotely, they are certainly not ready to get back to time and nerve-consuming commutes. And as there’s still a long way to go until we’ll work in a metaverse office, being in an easily accessible area will influence your team’s decisions of coming in or working from home.
Being close to home, for example, contributes to saving time and money, and to a better personal life – professional life balance – important for 72% of the respondents of a JLL survey.
Add people’s focus on wellbeing on top of all of this, and you’ll see why it is so important now, more than ever, to choose an office well connected with public transportation, with access to green areas and other health & hospitality amenities.
The 2022 office welcomes us with new design features, some of them already in use since the pandemic started. Be on the lookout not just for more desk space, but for socializing areas, gaming rooms, coworking spaces, flexible arrangements and even experimental areas – in this Economist piece, a representative from architecture firm Genslers says she is seeing lots of requests for places, like large auditoriums, where a company’s clients can have “experiences”.
Some other features you might want your new office to have include: natural light and green areas, ergonomic furniture, a healthy mix of private and shared areas.
What’s different now is that you can make the call or get as close as possible to make a decision about a space digitally. Virtual showcasing platforms offer you lifelike replicas of the actual office, letting you customize it according to your needs.
No need to travel to multiple locations just to see how your new office could potentially look. Explore available spaces online, at your convenience, and discover beyond their 3D tours: learn more about technical specifications, surroundings, sustainability features, and the honest thoughts of other tenants.
Soon enough you’ll probably be interested in the design and customization options of your virtual office as well, which can be an extra benefit offered by your landlord of choice. It can come with world-class interior design, with your own branding, style, and functionalities.
But even when we’ll have these virtual offices, we’ll probably still want to meet face to face in a physical space.
Flexibility is and remains one of the most important factors in the decision-making process and it is related both to:
- How and when you can use the office
- Leasing terms
Given how fast things are changing and how unpredictable our world seems to be, it’s critical for you to know how you can make the best use of your space. Can you lease the office for a shorter-term? What are your preferred terms and how can you reach a beneficial agreement for you and your landlord? How difficult is it to sublease a particular space? What conditions do you need to agree with and how can you exit the lease? These all are questions to consider before signing your contract – digitally, if possible.
Health and Safety
More landlords have started integrating sustainability, health, and safety measures into their buildings. According to CBRE, healthy building design and operations are one of the top 10 predictions for the future workplace.
You might want to check the air quality and if there’s access to fresh air and direct sunlight, if the materials used in construction are sustainable, if the landlord aims to reduce its CO2 footprint.
Also, pay attention to the safety measures taken by the owner: sensor-activated devices, regular disinfection, biometric access, increased physical distancing, larger shared areas.
Don’t forget that for you and your team, just these measures won’t be enough. You’ll want a space that nurtures your wellbeing, so are there any amenities that can keep you safe, as well as productive or that can help you relax?
Property Technology is advancing extremely well, bringing a new set of benefits to the table. Your future office might be available for showcasing and leasing online, saving you the hassle of visiting 10 spaces before making a call. It could have, as well:
- charging stations for electric cars
- reduced electricity consumption due to performant use of technology
- smart community care apps
- voice / motion activated devices
- VR headsets
- biometric authentication
- visitor management systems
- automated heating and lighting systems
Having an array of technologies at your fingertips will help you and your teamwork better and faster, focusing on what really matters: that intangible human input we bring to our work and to our direct interactions.
Gartner says, in an e-book published this year, that in the future, the focus should be more on the skills that can drive an organization’s success and the workflows that lead to competitive advantages. In order to nurture those skills, everything else has to be taken care of – and if we are looking at what this means from our workspaces’ perspective, we need to work from a space we love, that makes us feel productive, balanced and connected.
If you’d like to see what an office looks like when showcased digitally through Bright Spaces, check out our YouTube channel!