There has been a massive shift in office space style in recent years. Trends from the 80s with rows of private cubicles have been swapped for open plan layouts for all teams to collaborate. Senior managers having their own offices is a concept slowly being phased out so that all staff are together to encourage a more open communication and less of a hierarchical feel between colleagues. Whilst all this has been going on, office space real estate has adapted to the needs of the market; serviced office space has grown by a whopping 90% in the past ten years to accommodate the demand for low commitment and flexibility. The co-working ideology has massively taken off in the UK too, seeing freelancers, start-ups and small businesses utilising occasional desk space rather than committing to the burden of a permanent base.
Working environments aside, the actual people who will be filling them is set to change. The next generation of workers, graduates and technology brings with it a whole plethora of variation which could alter the way we work. As of 2020, 36% of work-forces will be made up of millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996, though this is regularly debated). There is often a tangible culture shift between generations, and different impetus on working priorities; for millennials there is a preference for tech-based communication, flexible working and open plan office space and a more relaxed, informal dress code (when and where appropriate). There is a direct correlation between the up and coming workforce and the trends in working style, so this is no surprise when looking back on the recent jumps in popularity for these work environments.
Something becoming more apparent in the workplace is broadening diversity within companies. There are more opportunities for people from a range of backgrounds and there are less places to hide for companies who have previously only recruited from specific universities or backgrounds. This makes for a more inclusive work-spaces and a forward-thinking approach, rather than an out of touch echo chamber of similar ideas.
On the subject of inclusivity, ‘co-living’ is another trend that is on the up. With companies such as The Collective, Norn, Roam and Fizzy Living, to name a few, cropping up all over the world, there is more community spirit filling our workers’ lives than ever before. Co-living offers its residents communal spaces, kitchens and events to come together and make friends. Co-living buildings in a lot of cases offer work-space too. This allows its tenants to collaborate together and offers a place for growing their ideas or freelance. Particularly favoured by uni-leavers or those new to the area, this idea is one that looks set to succeed and is disrupting the housing market, especially in London where renters are feeling growing resentment towards the cost of living in the city.
The latest generation of workers are certainly more mindful than ever before, with sustainability being on the tip of everyone’s tongues. Large corporations are following suit and now offering environmentally friendly workspaces is a factor for employers. Having natural energy, materials for furniture, even diet culture – as indicated by WeWork’s meat ban across all its sites – indicates that this is a notion to be taken seriously and one that gets the nod of approval from the public.
Whilst London has often been seen as the home of business in the UK, we are now seeing a rise of secondary locations in demand for providing office space. Outer Boroughs such as Croydon, Surrey and Camden are finding more enquiries and even further afield, Dublin, Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham are all growing in their rate of office take-up with lower prices but still enough activity to attract business owners alike. Whilst London isn’t necessarily going to find itself empty of a workforce, it is something to consider if the high real estate cost is something of a concern in relation to London office space.
So, lots of things to look out for in 2019. Will any of these impact on your next office search? The Cornerstone team will be able to find you the most suitable spaces in this remit, so if you want to know more please get in touch.