The office market’s flight to quality is playing out as a battle for best-in-class space. Cushman & Wakefield reported strong demand for the highest quality workplaces at the end of calendar year 2022.
Head of Data Analytics at Cushman & Wakefield, Nigel Almond said in November 2022;
“The pandemic highlighted the need for occupiers to have space that is attractive to employees and creates the right working environment to support a flexible working strategy, collaboration, and staff wellbeing, as well as ensuring access to amenities within, or near to, the office. That is no longer simply an aspiration, it is driving decision making and feeding through into the data and the ongoing bifurcation of the office market.”
What’s immediately apparent is that the flight to quality encompasses more than location and design; the experience that’s delivered to occupiers and how offices support desired ways of working is under the spotlight. Cushman’s commentary on their research highlights that occupiers are seeking environments that “support a flexible working strategy”, help stimulate “collaboration” throughout the organisation and provide amenities “within… the office”. None of this can be achieved without the effective use of technology. That’s why essensys recently asked 2,500 occupiers to elaborate on their expectations of technology in the offices they want to utilise.
Technologies role in the flight to quality
Our recently published research shows that the top 5 technologies enticing occupiers back to the office are the following:
- Ability to see which colleagues are in the office
- Superior internet & WiFi reliability in the office
- Seamless WiFi across all areas of the office building
- Tech-enabled meeting room spaces with digital collaboration tools
- Ability to access space and services across a network of locations
As isolated cases, these form a checklist of needs that occupiers desire. When combined, they tell a story of how occupiers expect their workplaces to drive collaboration, boost productivity and simply enable people to get on with their work, disruption free.
In reality, this story is more fairy-tale than fact. Most offers fall at the first hurdle, with the biggest cause of worker frustration being what should be the simplest component of the story; unbroken and seamless connectivity across an office, campus or portfolio of spaces for occupiers.
59% of workers believe they’d be more productive if they had seamless and consistent connectivity in the office. This becomes 69% of 18 -34 year olds, showing greater value is given to connectivity by the younger generation in the workforce.
Almost a quarter of respondents went as far as saying the technology in their building hinders their ability to perform effectively and impacts their productivity. Shockingly, 75% of workers have experienced it taking 30 minutes to identify, book and access a meeting room; when accessed, 22% of workers then said meeting room technology is the technology that lets them down the most.
Give the people what they want
Technology has the power to agitate or motivate occupiers:
- Seamless and consistent connectivity
- Meeting room technology
- The ability to identify, book and utilise different types of spaces within a building
There are multiple potential sources of frustration for occupiers and they’re seeking solutions to these problems so they can focus on collaborating.
“It’s easy to understand the theory, but harder for landlords and flex workspace operators to provide the types of experiences occupiers demand, least of all because it is not a one size fits all type scenario. So, how do landlords and flex workspace providers ensure that their proposition is fit for purpose? The answer is by addressing their technology strategy.” James Shannon, Chief Product & Technology Officer at essensys.
With the future becoming more digital, more flexible and more sustainable, it’s evident the real estate industry must respond to the needs of occupiers. Inadequate technology causes frustrations and can be a deterrent to coming to the office, where as technology done well can be a huge attraction to bring people back to the office and support the types of workplaces they want.
Those who give the people what they want will be best positioned to capitalise on the flight to quality. Get your copy of the occupier sentiment research here.
Plus, take a look at how Bruntwood, a leading UK landlord, is well-positioned to capitalise on the flight to quality and the heightened expectations of occupiers with the use of essensys software and technology.