As employees continue to enjoy flexible working, what do you think they expect from a trip to their office? And, with collaboration and wellbeing rising up the corporate agenda, what type of spaces are businesses interested in now? Find out how businesses are adapting their offices and meeting employee demands in our new Office Occupiers’ Report.
The past few years have raised a lot of questions about the traditional use of the office. The Great Resignation, flexible working and environmental concerns have dominated discussions, both in the public sphere and between businesses and employees.
So how are businesses updating their offices to meet these challenges – and what are their concerns for the coming year?
Working with YouGov, we recently surveyed 500 businesses to learn what they’re planning to do with their office space and what led them to make those decisions. Based on what we learned, our experts have provided advice to help you make changes to your office and meet employee needs.
We also spoke to Knight Frank about their new office space, 103 Colmore Row, to learn how it meets the demands of their strategy and their employees. The building’s developer, Sterling Property Ventures, also explains how 103 Colmore Row is leading the way in corporate sustainability and occupier experience.
Read our Office Occupier’s report to learn how offices are evolving.
We’ve highlighted the key findings from our report: when, why and how businesses are changing their office requirements. You can find expert advice on each of these issues in the full report:
- The Evolution Of The Office Space
- Obstacles To Action
- The Office Isn't Dead, But Its Purpose Is Changing
- A Vote For The Green Agenda
- Large Firms More Aware Of Disability Compliance
“The last two years have undoubtedly changed attitudes to attendance at the office. This survey highlights the ever-changing attitude of occupiers, driven by conversations with its workforce and the need to attract and retain talent. Businesses are now asking their employees what would attract them back to the office and what they now expect from their workspaces.” - Claire Petricca-Riding, National Planning Partner and Head of Environment
1. The Evolution of the Office Space
Of the businesses we surveyed, it’s the larger businesses are on the move. 46% of large businesses and 39% of medium sized businesses are now looking to either upsize, downsize or relocate their office space.
33% of large businesses cited financial motives as their reason for change, and 35% are responding to the changed working habits of their employees.
From both these drivers, it seems that the pandemic has led businesses to reconsider their office space. They’re being careful in the money they spend, and in attracting and retaining their staff.
Across all businesses surveyed, 56% overall are planning to keep their existing space and another 11% are planning to reorganise their current offices.
2. Obstacles to Action
For the most part, those who’ve decided to change their office space are acting quickly. Our survey found that 73% of all businesses who are changing their requirements will do so within a year.
But what’s delaying those who plan to take longer than 12 months? Large businesses cited lease terms as their main constraints, while monetary considerations are causing smaller businesses to hesitate.
Concern about the UK economy and pandemic uncertainty also scored highly in their decision-making.
3. The Office Isn't Dead, But Its Purpose Is Changing
While employees may be embracing more flexible working, only 6% of the businesses we surveyed plan to have their workforce working from home full time.
This shows that while the pandemic has changed our working patterns, the appetite for an office space is still present. 40% businesses believe staff work better in an office and 40% see the office as an important space for collaboration.
It seems that workers now see the office as a place to visit only a few times a week, for collaboration, exchanging ideas and meeting colleagues. A commute to the office must have purpose, particularly as employees seek greater work/life balance and flexibility.
4. A Vote for the Green Agenda
Climate change is a key debate in the public sphere. Now, pressure is growing on organisations to adopt greener habits and use their platforms to drive action.
Our survey found that most businesses do plan to reduce their environmental impact of their office; only 19% claimed they would make no changes.
15% of respondents from large businesses even said they would be prepared to pay higher rent for greener office space.
For most of the businesses we surveyed, green measures seem to translate to improving habits that can save costs, such as:
- Turning off electric, lights and heating (54%)
- Going paperless (44%)
- Becoming more energy efficient (38%)
- Optimize natural light (36%)
- Eliminating single-use cups (35%)
- Opting for more energy-efficient office products (29%)
- Adjusting thermostats (28%).
5. Large Firms More Aware of Disability Compliance
There was a notable difference in the attitude towards the government’s National Disability Strategy between larger and smaller businesses.
Published in July 2021, the Strategy sets out a series of initiatives to help the UK’s 3 million people with a disability or long-term health condition into work.
Our results found that 75% of large businesses said that compliance with the Strategy was either important or very important when deciding on office space.
This fell to 61% for medium sized companies and 39% for smaller and micro businesses.
Get the full picture of how offices are evolving in our Office Occupier’s Report
Can our lawyers help your office meet your strategy and employee needs? Get in touch today