Article | Evolving Workforces

Five Trends Shaping Our Future Workspaces

11 Apr 2022

By Trevor Boddy

Five Trends Shaping Our Future Workspace

Flexibility and choice. They’ve become two of the non-negotiables for a growing number of employees as they return to the office.

But what else can businesses and building owners be doing to entice people to return? And what are the key trends shaping our future workspaces?

In CBRE’s recent Future of Office survey, 83% of respondents said they believed workplaces fostered collaboration and team productivity. At the same time, 72% of respondents said they had implemented changes to their remote working procedures.

So, it’s a balancing act that companies will need to navigate as they seek to create workspaces that provide a greater degree of flexibility while maintaining a culture of in-person collaboration.

The challenge is to create dynamic, safe and connected spaces that staff choose to come to, not because they’re told to but because they want to. These are the trends shaping our new workspaces.

1. Hybrid Workspaces

As organisations acknowledge the benefits of our new work-life balance, our workspaces are adapting accordingly.

For instance, tech giant Atlassian has implemented its “Team Anywhere” approach and their 5,700 global staff can now elect to work from anywhere in the world, while they still push ahead with their $1.4 billion new HQ in Sydney’s Tech Central precinct. A great example of a company that understands how their staff value the in-office experience.

How are they managing occupancy fluctuations?

  • Fixed desking is out. Unassigned/shared seating is in.
  • Space management software, desk booking systems and in-house concierge.
  • More collaborative zones, breakout areas and third spaces to work from.

2. Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)

ESG is becoming an increasingly important business consideration globally, and for many, it’s top of their corporate agenda.

The Business Council of Australia’s Achieving a Net Zero Economy Report 2021 shows approximately 50 of the top 200 ASX-listed companies have made Net Zero commitments in the past 12 months, a 300% increase from the previous year.

When it comes to sustainability, age is no barrier. According to CBRE’s NABERhood Watch Report, 24% of all office buildings constructed pre-2000 now have a 5.5- or 6-Star energy ratings, and these buildings enjoy an 11% difference in occupancy when compared to their 4-Star or less counterparts.

The environmental aspect is in part addressed by choosing high performing, energy-efficient buildings, however corporates are also being challenged to increase their contributions to the Social and Governance aspects of ESG by:

  • Implementing policies that improve diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I)
  • Diversifying contractor and procurement relationships
  • Enhancing transparency in reporting
  • Making a commitment to a living wage

3. The Digital Workplace

Disruptive technology continues to be the greatest driver of business transformation and smart buildings that deliver superior digital connectivity are in high demand.

Smart buildings are already analysing data to anticipate the needs of occupants, before they’ve arrived for the working day ahead. Smartphones are allowing interaction with access systems, air-conditioning and vertical transportation, while sensors are optimising operational performance.

To showcase a building’s digital capability, many leading property owners are turning to third-party certifiers such as WiredScore, which provide a scorecard assessment that measures a buildings resilience, future readiness, mobile coverage, choice of providers and the overall user experience.

There is also increased investment in collaborative technologies such as smart video conferencing facilities with speaker-tracking and digital white boards, smaller “zoom rooms” and soundproof pods are also becoming an office staple.

Meanwhile, health and safety advancements such as contactless access systems, temperature screening, automated cleaning of high traffic areas and the installation of UV air-filtration technologies are rising in popularity.

4. Wellness - The new Green

There is a growing body of evidence highlighting the links between our physical environments and our overall health and wellbeing.

The wellness revolution has led to the creation of the WELL Building Standard, a mechanism that evaluates a building’s ability enhance health, well-being and performance through concepts such as air, light, nourishment, movement and mind.

Brisbane’s 25 King Street office tower was Queensland’s first building to receive a Platinum WELL Core and Shell Certification. Anchored by Aurecon, developed by Lendlease and owned by Impact Group, it’s a building that was developed with the overriding philosophy that the wellbeing of employees leads to a better employee experience and ultimately drives customer engagement and satisfaction

5. The “Hotelisation” of the office

As Australia continues its impressive economic rebound, the resilience of the labour market has been a clear standout.

The battle for talent has intensified and businesses are creating spaces that attract the best and brightest into their organisations.

Well-connected buildings with good public transport links, excellent on-site amenity and a variety of choice in popular bars, cafes and restaurants are the pick for switched-on corporates, who are taking a leaf out of the hospitality playbook by creating curated experiences for occupants from Monday to Friday.

This includes full concierge services that collect and deliver your dry-cleaning, VIP meet and greats, morning yoga, evening wine tastings, mid-week puppy playtime and Friday BBQ’s. Anything goes!

It’s about creating sustainable spaces, that foster connection through community, technology and wellbeing.

In short, your office needs to be seen as worth the commute.

Key Office Trends 2022

As organisations navigate their evolving office environments, let us look at what trends we can expect to see in 2022.