In 2020 CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate and investment firm, released a report titled Global outlook 2030. Whilst it covers a whole range of topics its authors predicted by 2030 more people would be working from home, and the nature of how they worked would change, taking advantage of new technologies that would create a new virtual office.
Then came Covid and mostly everything they predicted came true in just a few years rather than a decade.
Employees were confined to their home during lockdowns but found that they enjoyed working from a home office or dining room table. Not only were people saving time and money by not having to commute, but they were able to create a better work / life balance. Now that covid is over, many employees are finding themselves reluctant to return to the office.
People now want access to amenities like babysitters and gyms, not just free coffee in the kitchen. Having a workplace that is close to public transport, and shops is also now a priority. These features are now being viewed as essential to achieve a good work / life balance.
Biophilic spaces within the office are also becoming desirable in the new-age of office design – the use of natural materials, natural light and plants – these have been proven to lower stress and improve productivity. People like feeling connected to nature, after all, as a species we have spent most of evolutionary history in nature, not in a sterile office.
They want collaborative spaces that increase creativity. Let’s face it, one of the main reasons employees will come into the office is to collaborate, so having spaces that facilitate that is a no brainer. A small meeting room with pale walls and a whiteboard is a fairly sterile environment. One of CBRE’s longer term predictions is that gradually virtual reality will eliminate the meeting room entirely, and whilst we’re not there yet, break out spaces with comfortable lounges are far more likely to inspire the imagination than a whiteboard with a round table.