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5 workspace trends to watch for in 2022

By Noemi Pamintuan-jara
04 January 2022 | 1 minute read
5 workspace trends to watch for in 2022

The pandemic redefined how we live and work, with businesses shifting to agile teams and the demand for flexible workspaces reaching historic levels in the past 18 months.

Real estate giant Colliers has released its predictions on how CRE businesses, developers, and landlords can pivot in the new normal in the Flex Forward 2022 Report, courtesy of their workplace consulting team.

The team has identified ways to meet a variety of occupier needs, including full-time work from home options and support for hybrid work arrangements, as well as looked at ways to improve the tenant experience for those who prefer to retain traditional workplaces.

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1. Fusion of retail strategy and office amenity strategy

In the past, asset owners handled their retail and office amenity strategies in separate portfolios. Today, Colliers’ experts opined it would be wise to integrate these strategies.

Depending on the building and the direction chosen by the asset owner, there is a new need to observe the needs of the occupiers/target occupiers of a particular building or portfolio and move toward a more extensive, integrated suite of meaningful amenities in order to elevate tenant experience.

To make this happen, the report laid out two alternatives for asset operators: offer end-to-end solutions themselves or outsource to a trusted partner operator.

For the latter option, the consultants said individual offerings such as fitness, health, food and beverage, hospitality, technology, and flexible workspace could be part of the product mix contracted to the best operators in the industry.

An operator who offers all these amenities is ideal for tenants because it can offer a seamless experience for occupiers, the report said.

Furthermore, Colliers’ experts stressed the crucial role of providing content creation and programming since “how these end users ultimately interact with a building will be fundamental to real estate decision making”.

2. The rise of flexible workspaces

There was a time when flexible workspaces were considered as just an add-on or short-term product offering.

However, the rise of agile teams pulled up the demand for this work arrangement and has ultimately become an integral part of the CRE strategy from the onset of the pandemic.

“Flexible workspace and traditional office will blend to become workplace solutions, and industry professionals viewing the two in binary terms will dissipate,” the report stated.

3. Diversified product line

Technology providers, operators, and asset owners are all expected to release new and diversified product solutions in terms of services, experiences, wellness, and sustainability in addition to physical venues to meet the changing needs of occupiers.

“In addition, and much like the hotel sector, we believe there will be a continued diversification of product – from cost-effective through to high-end premium solutions. The sector is maturing and the choice of solutions will continue to expand, which will only benefit occupiers,” the report highlighted.

4. Quality is king

Yes, quality is key. But since occupiers also aspire to provide the best work environments for their team, quality is also king.

“With the war for talent and quality labour peaking during the back half of 2021 (and into 2022), occupiers know that without a quality real estate environment and flexible working guidelines they ultimately will lose their employees to competitors,” the report acknowledged.

Some of these provisions mentioned in the report that can elevate the real estate environment include quality technology infrastructure, wellness rooms, accessible location, air quality, mother’s rooms, medical services, and sustainability.

5. The end of greenwashing

Say goodbye to greenwashing and hello to lower carbon impacts.

The report revealed that the ripple effect of the global climate summit “Conference of the Parties”, or COP26, has reached corporate real estate with heightened awareness to meet environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) standards.

“As occupiers divert more attention to the impact of their office use, the flexible workspace sector can lead the way. The carbon impact of office occupation is not just the building but the fit out, operations and commuting impact on staff,” the report pointed out.

In summary, Collier’s report stated that asset owners are carefully considering their product mix and delivery approaches, resulting in a greater number of non-traditional agreements with operators, reducing conflict between flex and core products.

5 workspace trends to watch for in 2022
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