Looking for a New Office for Your Team in 2023? Here's What to Take into Account.
If you're looking for a new space to host your team this year, here's what should you pay attention to.
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I've recently ran a poll on my LinkedIn account, asking people about their preferred style of work in 2023. The majority of them chose "hybrid."
We're still going to the office this year, for a variety of reasons. For some, it's about productivity; for some, it's about having a more clear work schedule (fully remote workers spend 10% more time working than those who sign off when they leave the office). For others, it's about networking (57% of workers said that the main pain point for which they'd like to go to the office is "lack of social interaction"), and the list goes on.
If you, too, are working from an office this year and looking for a new space to host your team, what should you pay attention to? Here are my main recommendations:
Proximity is (more than ever) key
First of all, for people going back to the office, a long commute could actually be a deal-breaker. A survey among London respondents revealed that nearly two-thirds of them feel that it is more important now than before the pandemic, to be close to various amenities, so look for spaces that are either in your proximity or that have satellite spaces in multiple areas.
Related: 5 Simple Rules to Follow When Looking for Office Space
Design should be need-based
Given that people have different reasons to return to the office, the design of the space should reflect them. For example, a research project showed that the average professional spends over 40% of their time at work interacting with others; this percentage might be bigger or smaller, depending on the industry you're active in.
It's important to review and understand these behaviors and motivations — and have the space planned accordingly. Open, flexible spaces could work wonders for teams that need to collaborate frequently, but you also might need areas in which to focus or organize brainstorming sessions.
It's helpful to see how a space can fit your team and meet their needs even before planning. To do that, you can work with the landlord or agent on a test fit created with the help of a 3D space planning tool to get a better understanding of what that space will look like and show it to your colleagues.
3D custom plans are more intuitive and realistic than 2D space plans and manage to give a better actual feel of the future space. If more people are involved in the decision-making process, and if they are not in real estate, having a virtual, 3D representation of the space tends to become a must — especially if we're talking about millennials and Gen Z, who are so accustomed to gamification and everything digital.
The features and tech that matter
After having worked from home or remotely from a sunny destination, when going back to the office, we're looking for an A-class experience. Your next space should, therefore:
Be bathed in natural light. This is the most important feature employees look for, especially if they spend most of their time on a screen.
Use ergonomic furniture — standing desks and comfortable networking spaces
Adopt a biophilic design, where natural elements are included for closeness to nature
Use performant ventilation systems for fresh air to be constantly brought into the space, as high air quality can boost performance by 11%
Integrate technology that facilitates people's work. Slow technology can be perceived as a downside to returning to the office. I am not talking just about fast internet, but also about voice and sensor-activated devices, management apps (to be able to book a meeting room digitally, for example) or digital access systems.
Be accessible — besides being in the proximity of a transportation means, office spaces should be inclusive and accessible to everyone.
Related: Spruce Up Your Office or Workspace with These 10 Must-Have Items
The built environment and construction sector accounts for 38% of global CO2 emissions, and people become increasingly more aware and concerned about this. Furthermore, they say that companies should integrate sustainability into their services more now, with 65% of workers saying that they'd like to work for a company that has a strong sustainability policy in place.
How can you make sure you're working from a responsible space? Most office buildings have their ESG policies and measures taken available publicly. When going to a developer's website, you can look, for example, for certifications such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).
Do your research
Once you've gone through all the criteria your future office space should meet, it's time for research. This used to be a mostly offline process, with many live visits being involved and a lot of time spent selecting the right space.
With the accelerated development of 3D digital twins, your alternative is to check most of the criteria online and then decide if you want to visit a space.
What these replicas do is offer you a realistic perspective of what your future office could look like, what technologies and amenities are available, how close it is to main points of interest, what ESG policies they have in place and what spaces are actually available for lease.
All relevant details you're looking for can be found on these replicas, as well as virtual tours through the space, with or without fit-outs. This will significantly reduce your time spent researching and improve your experience, allowing you to also easily share information online.
3D digital twins have already entered the real estate universe and are expected to keep evolving to a point of completely transforming the industry.
Related: Creating an Engaging Workforce Through Thoughtful Office Space
Design and features are critical for your new office — so is its proximity to main amenities and its orientation to technology. Addressing a generation of workers who are growingly accustomed to having an app for almost everything, the degree of digitalization of space enters the criteria list probably for the first time. The same happens with sustainability, creating, in my view, a balanced future where nature and technology co-exist and improve our whole existence.