In 2020, we expect to see a renewed focus on the experience that is provided to tenants. This is to say that landlords and developers will increasingly recognise how providing the best space and service can and will lead to a superior customer experience.
What a business wants or even expects from their office space is increasingly changing. Whether that is the way we work, client entertainment, free time or even how we socialise out of work hours. The list of ‘must haves’ and ‘likes’ is considerably different to that of ten or even five years ago. As discussed, in previous editions of The Occupier, the voice of the workforce has got louder, not least of all with regards to input on the office and its environs.
Whilst the primary function of the office remains the same, the way in which we undertake such work can take on a variety of formats. Increased corporate and personal agility demands different workspaces not just in the demise of the office. The way in which we interact with our colleagues and clients is also shifting and becoming less formal. The opening of communal areas such as receptions to provide meeting spaces or workstations is one way in which landlords have started to respond. Heavily influenced by serviced offices, landlords are also expected to feature more flexibility in their buildings to cater for different tenant needs.
PLACEMAKING ALL BUILDINGS
Placemaking is a concept that has generally been used in relation to curating largescale redevelopments whether it is residential, commercial or both. However, landlords and developers should take on more of these principles and apply them to their buildings, whether it is for the smallest or largest scheme. Providing amenities in the office building or local vicinity are key elements of the tenant experience. One example of this is British Land’s current redevelopment of 100 Liverpool Street. In its previous guise, the building was very much a corporate office building with a small parade of shops at the lower level. When new tenants move in late 2020, the experience will be significantly enhanced. In addition to the high-spec, high design-led office space, tenants will have access to a substantial uplift in retail provision, restaurants peppered throughout the building including the landscaped rooftop. Whilst this is part of British Land’s own wider Broadgate scheme, which has enabled them to change the public realm and footprint, the principles and aspirations of such a redevelopment are clearly experiential led. Elements of which could be incorporated into a good proportion of buildings around central London or any UK city
A TOOL FOR TALENT
The workplace is no longer viewed as just a part of a company’s operation, it is widely seen as a key tool deployed in the competition for attracting and retaining top talent. Whilst the design and function of the workplace can contribute a great deal in achieving recruitment goals, they can be boosted by an enhanced experience. The difference between taking a job could be down to the number eateries or bars in the local vicinity. It could also be the provision of green or quiet spaces. Wellbeing, both in and out of the office has increased in importance and recognition.
Whilst some of these elements are outside a landlord’s control, it could merely be a case of having an active landlord in the local community, in partnership with its tenants to helps curate a local area, thereby enhancing the tenant experience. A landlord is often seen as that person/entity who is visible at the beginning of a lease and at the rent review and expiry. A non-transactional relationship should be sought in order to achieve the maximum out of the office. Working in tandem will enhance the experience for both parties. Time and energy invested in such relationships will lead to improving the ‘tenant offer’ and in-turn increasing the letability of schemes now and in the future.