Continuing our series exploring key trends impacting the office sector in 2024, with a focus on Workplace, Technology and Flexibility, this edition focuses on Workplace and its role in the world of property owners and occupiers in a fast-changing environment.
Arguably a misleading term these days, the workplace will continually extend to many different places, both centralised and distributed. This will again increase the interdependency between owners and occupiers as well-designed workspaces, buildings and precincts leverage the value of human interaction.
Demand for commercial real estate has always swung like a pendulum responding to economic and supply dynamics, but the level of demand from staff to attend these workplaces is a more recent consideration. The challenge is clear but not simple: create demand for a relatively ubiquitous product segment amidst a growing number of reasonable alternatives, including homes, cafes and garden pods.
Creating Great Places
Experience is increasingly central to new office designs, with organisations designing spaces that provide the best that hospitality and home design has to offer. Canva and Amazon being two examples (Office fit-outs: How tech company offices will look in 2024 and beyond (afr.com) in Australia that have taken this challenge head-on, with recent workplace design in Sydney and Melbourne. These designs reduce traditional workstations in favour of highly curated collaboration, learning and social spaces.
This trend acknowledges that while most people have a workstation at home, they don’t have the opportunity to engage in a sushi class with their team at lunch, or a social learning session with expert colleagues. It appears more and more organisations will embrace the soft power approach of creating great places - which in turn creates raving fans amongst employees and a growing sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) on the vibrant activities and culture in the office.
Diversity of Purpose in Functional Design
Spaces with distinct purpose, designed to support meaningful work will increasingly take centre stage. Outside of the home or remote office, corporate headquarters design will need to incorporate private focus spaces, shared collaboration areas, and workshop spaces conducive to iteration and learning. In this dynamic environment, a one-size-fits-all approach is obsolete and each industry and organisation will need to hone their own approach to best support their people.
Technology – The Catalyst for Workplace Transformation
Completing the puzzle, technology emerges as the critical glue that binds together the decentralised workforces and is key to productivity being maintained. We are only at the beginning of what can be achieved with smart buildings and organisational innovation, which we will explore in our next and final instalment of the key office market trends in 2024.