In a 2019 report, CBRE predicted flexible space to account for 13% of total U.S. office supply by 2030. Now, nearly a year later, the expectation is that 30% of office space will be flexible in some way by 2030. The implications of the pandemic catalyzed trends amongst all office space offerings, with the common denominator being more flexibility. The demand for flexibility is no longer just driven by convenience, but by a dire need for healthy, decentralized workspaces that facilitate a safe and productive return to the office.
Here are seven trends to expect in 2021 as flexible office space offerings, such as WaveOffice, surge to the commercial real estate spotlight.
PRIORITIZATION OF HEALTH & WELLNESS INITIATIVES
2021 will see health initiatives taking on an entirely new, holistic approach; the office building will not only facilitate healthy workers, but it will be healthy in and of itself. The demand for healthy office space goes beyond the availability of fitness centers to building customers, shining a spotlight on the need for office spaces to revamp their HVAC systems, implement seamless touchless technology, and evaluate their amenity and programming offerings.
Most flexible office space providers currently limit the access of building amenities to their customers. In the post-pandemic world, this means more than being omitted from the fitness center. Customers will want to prioritize their health in an age where health is at the forefront of every agenda. This is something flexible office space solutions must consider when evolving in the post-pandemic era.
WaveOffice gives flexible-office-space customers the same privilege to building amenities as every other building customer, a model that will likely grow in popularity as health takes on a new importance in and out of the office.
DECENTRALIZATION OF OFFICE SPACE
The decentralization of office space might be the most obvious trend considering the world has been living six feet apart for over a year, but there is a bit more to it than fortifying desks with plexiglass and moving them further from each other. The “hub-and-spokes” model will likely see a resurgence, as companies look to utilize a central office “hub” for important meetings and smaller regional offices, or “spokes,” close to employees’ homes for day-to-day operations. More flexible office space offerings will start to expand out from downtown areas and into residential neighborhoods similarly to WaveOffice, which currently positions the Clarendon Square and 2001 Penn locations in dense residential markets.
EXPANSION OF HYBRID WORKSPACES
The hybrid office space model, which places work-ready “drop-in” spaces in non-office environments such as hotels, restaurants, and gyms, will continue to rise in popularity, especially as the decentralization of office space forces workers to split their time between in-office working and teleworking. While hybrid workspaces are not a new phenomenon, the heighten exigency for wellness in the post-pandemic world does make flexible workspace offerings inside a gym or yoga center ultra-appealing; yet, this model does constrict the range of amenities available to the worker.
Carr Properties approaches hybrid workspaces in the inverse with WaveOffice, bundling the hotel-feel, café ambiance, and state-of-the-art fitness centers under one roof with their office buildings. The demand for these dispersed, wellness-centric amenities will only increase as customers reconsider what it means to be healthy, making hybrid workspaces highly desired.
RISE IN TOUCHLESS TECHNOLOGY & AUTOMATION
Flexible office spaces will see a boom in touchless technologies and automation as health standards heighten and companies begin to downsize their spaces in favor of decentralization. In utilizing an analytics platform, office spaces will begin to regulate themselves, enabling landlords to have a better idea of how their buildings are behaving. Reservation-based solutions will likely grow in popularity as companies look for ways to accommodate their workforce into a smaller space. Customers will utilize a virtual booking system to confirm their spot at the office, whether it be through a desk, conference room, or other workspace. Touchless technology will entail more than a fingerless entry into the elevator, with concierge and reservation services becoming available by phone through apps and retail offerings opt for contactless delivery and pick-up.
IMPLEMENTATION OF OPEN AREAS & SMARTER DESIGN
Flexible office spaces will undergo a make-over as companies look for more places to put their workers. This means introducing open-area workstations that allow for the sprawling of customers. The work-from-home environment has made it evident that work is no longer condemned to a singular desk, encouraging the sprouting of workstations in never-before utilized environments. Lobbies, rooftops, and terraces will likely become larger and more open, designed to be equipped with more desks, seating, and outlets to facilitate the new desire to work from anywhere. Natural lighting and health-enhancing greenery are likely to accompany these spaces as the priority for wellness continues to rise. Already housed in buildings with intentionally designed open spaces, WaveOffice has the luxury of already being able to offer their customers the space to spread out, all with a view of lush décor.
CALL FOR ECO-FRIENDLY SPACES
Sustainability held importance in the pre-COVID world and only continues to be a huge priority for customers and landlords alike. In fact, most young employees would take a pay-cut if it meant working for a sustainability-minded company. Flexible office spaces are already sustainable, maximizing occupancy and eliminating under-used space, ultimately leading to less material waste and energy usage. Yet, more initiatives for sustainability amongst flexible office space are on the horizon, especially as building systems and design are reevaluated for their ability to accommodate new health standards.
INCREASE IN DEMAND FOR FLEXIBLE OFFICE SPACE
Finally, the biggest trend for flexible office space should come as no surprise due to its decentralized, accommodating nature: demand is growing exponentially. As the effects of the pandemic will linger for years to come, companies will look to become only more flexible with time, adopting a new sense of normalcy centered around impermanence. 2020 enlightened the world to all the ways people can work in and out of the office, a sentiment that will not be forgotten even with the diminishment of COVID-19. As industry-leaders anticipate the return to work in the post-pandemic era, flexible office space solutions like WaveOffice will truly be a solution as safety and security are put at the forefront of the effort for customers and companies alike.
If you are looking for more (or less) space for any of these reasons, we invite you to virtually tour of available WaveOffice suites on VTS Marketplace today:
Tour The Hub
Tour Clarendon Square
Tour 2001 Penn