Trends in the office space industry are reflected both on a small and large scale. One trend that has caught our attention, linking practices within individual offices to broader economic shifts, is the emergence of purpose-built office spaces without amenities.
We have seen spaces called "project suites" – flexible areas within offices functioning as sub or inner offices. These spaces, featuring multiple settings in a bookable room, are highly valued by teams needing flexibility. Essentially, they act as smaller container office with amenities located in the main office that all have access to. These internal building elements can be upscaled, with entire organisations using dedicated workspaces and then leaving to utilise shared facilities and amenities.
The increase in flexi offices and short-term rental agreements is attributed to the desire for flexibility and the downsizing of offices. This shift indicates that adaptability has become a higher priority for real estate and facilities managers.
While adaptability is crucial, it also leads to reluctance towards significant investments in cafes, canteens, and wellness areas if the organisation relocates the following year. Organisations are preferring landlords to provide these amenities and facilities, reducing pressure, energy, and design focus on in-house provisions for employees.
This trend leads to a search for buildings and landlords that meet workplace needs in terms of workstations and workspace design while also offering comforts and perks managed by the building. Although this might result in higher rental prices, it ultimately aids the ease and flexibility of portfolio management.
Areas like Canary Wharf are developing separate social hubs, providing increased rental and short-term letting opportunities. With larger companies leaving behind expansive floor plans not designed to be self-contained, smaller companies will find it more realistic to move into these offices when facilities are directly available at the building's doorstep.
As highlighted in a recent blog by my colleague Gena, the ongoing diversification and amenity building in Canary Wharf presents significant opportunities. With the utility of separate team offices and the desire for spaces rented from landlords with in-house amenities, the question arises – will people now choose offices based on locations and communities that offer these comforts even outside of the buildings themselves?