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2024 - The continued evolution of office design, pivotal months to get ahead, and what hybrid working really looks like

10 need-to-know snippets

After a relaxing festive break followed by the reality of everyone circling back in the first couple of weeks, we’re now well into the swing of January. 

The last time we spoke, we were reflecting on our top 10 of 2023 and recapping the year of evolving office landscapes, amenity-rich design, and longer-term thinking. Now, as strategic planning kicks into high gear for the 12 months ahead, we break down 10 need-to-knows for all your business planning needs, aiding ways to future-proof your office strategy in an ever-evolving hybrid world.

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1 // The continued evolution of office design

As we relayed back in December, amenity-rich spaces are having a moment. 

In huge demand and selling themselves, we saw a massive push for amenity-rich offices in 2023, translating into how providers and asset owners continue to design workspaces.

Last summer we spoke with Landsec who were reviewing office attendance across their London portfolio. Although attendance being down compared to pre-Covid levels came as little surprise, take-up during Tues-Thurs was at 74% in June 2023, vs 85% pre-Covid, and 62% Mon-Fri, vs 75% pre-Covid. Is this set to increase in 2024? Judging by the tubes this morning, we think so!

Leasing Director Harry Foster expanded on this, stating their portfolio is highly-amenitised, with all spaces generally new or recently refurbished and delivering an all day experience, all of which is clearly helping to nurture more in-office days.

As we venture further into the year, we’ll see an increasing number of providers continue to shift focus to benefit tenants and offer fitted, functional and amenity-rich spaces.

The take out? 2024 is the year to make your office work for you and your team. 

2 // Purpose-driven environments (2.0) 

Last year we witnessed a notable uplift in requests for sustainable design, BREEAM certifications on new buildings and all-round purpose-driven offices; a requirement we’re set to see more of in 2024.

B Corp certification is a phrase we’re all becoming more attuned to - as a business you may even hold the renowned title yourself - and the real estate industry is no exception. A rise in B Corp certified-providers paired with the request for sustainable credentials means green may as well be Pantone’s colour of the year (it’s Peach Fuzz, but you get the gist). 

If a purpose-driven working environment aligns to your brand values and is something you’re keen to reflect in where you work, allow us to pair you with the perfect spot. 

3 // Time to get ahead 

What’s the best time to plan for an office move?

As with many aspects of the workplace it’s usually a lot earlier than you think, and naturally, some of the busiest times for securing a renewal or even a new space can fall alongside everything else.

In 2023 we saw notable spikes in interest during September, once the year gets into swing in February and ahead of the financial year end in March, so pop us a message in advance if you’re planning any movement around these months. 

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4 // AI 

The buzzword amongst pretty much every business in 2023: AI is going nowhere.

But how will this ever-evolving tech translate across the real estate industry into 2024 and beyond?

The adoption of AI signals ways to complement existing strategies, processes, and ways of working. Within office and workplace strategies this could include how property searches are conducted, streamlining planning efficiencies between client and provider, analysing data to help produce valuable insights, and even enhancing virtual property tours. 

Watch this space…

5 // Expanding horizons   

Throughout 2023 the top 6 areas which gauged the most interest from you guys were: 

📍 Holborn + Chancery Lane 

📍Clerkenwell + Farringdon

📍 Shoreditch 

📍 Liverpool Street 

📍 Soho

📍 Fitzrovia 

Rewind a couple of years and we saw a focus on renowned locations such as the West End, which embodied the hustle and bustle of London in a post-Covid world. But now, due to these hotspots naturally rising in price, the shift we’re seeing is expansion into nearby areas - such as Holborn and Fitzrovia - as well as a renewed interest in going East.

If a move is on the cards and you’re seeking a specific location remember centering focus on a single borough isn’t always the way - Don’t underestimate some of these lesser-thought-of locations, they’re fast becoming the new hotspots!

6 // Space flexibility 

Picture this: You’ve briefed a self-contained office, but communal meeting rooms and breakout spaces seem like an attractive perk to keep the team dynamic. 

This became quite a trend last year - Clients are seeking the best solution to counteract the fight for a meeting room or phone booth when they start filling up, especially on team anchor days. 

As ways of working grow in flexibility, so do offices - It’s not unusual to request a self-contained floor for privacy but still access communal areas to increase the number of potential meeting spots, network with other businesses, or just for a change of scenery. 

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7 // Check your pulse (surveys) 

Involving the team in decision-making is a huge positive for employees and businesses alike.

Of course, it doesn’t mean absolutely everyone has to have buy-in, but respecting everyone’s opinion and understanding what makes the space work for individuals is a solid benefit for short and longer-term thinking. Also, allow enough time for any official sign-offs, it’ll make the process much quicker.

The team witnessed plenty of this when conducting viewings last year and we’re sure it’s set to snowball in the coming months. 

8 // Accessible for all 

As we’re living in a time where you can make the office work for the majority of the team - and it’s important to do so - accessibility has a huge role to play in the world of offices.

Newer workspaces are being designed with inclusivity front of mind, and for those who find everything a little distracting or overwhelming at times, catering to those individual needs can mean all the difference.

Customisable workstations, quiet zones for limited distractions, and softer lighting to strengthen focus are just some of the ways we’ll continue to see offices evolve, and the more appealing these workspaces become, the easier it will be to encourage time spent there. 

9 // Dipping into the talent pool

Gen Z - who will soon become one of the biggest generational groups in the workplace, especially amongst startups and scaleups - are deeply invested in the impact of their work on their personal identity, as highlighted in a Workplace from Meta article dissecting results from ThoughtExchange’s report: Gen Z At Work. 

96% of Gen Z employees surveyed put emphasis on the importance of feeling valued and empowered, and 79% want their manager to care about personal development as much as professional development. 

To bolster this, residing in a purpose-driven environment ranked high on the agenda in 2023, and *spoiler alert* aligns perfectly with tactics to attract the latest generation of talent. 

The same report notes that 73% of the Gen Z workforce have high expectations for ESG (environmental, social, governance) and would leave a company if their practices were not ethical, followed by 68% who would leave if sustainability was lacking.

Although talent retention is not based solely on where you work, it plays a substantial role, and 2024 should be the year to ensure your workplace is set up to reflect these findings. 

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10 // How hybrid looks in 2024 

Even remote-first businesses invest in an office base to aid culture, something Monzo relayed during our panel with Ventures Together last November, and creating an appealing space can mean the difference between driving excitement about spending more time in the office, or seeing reluctance to do so. 

We’re already seeing a strong start to the year and the importance of quality office space is becoming understood by businesses large and small; Innovative, purpose-driven workspaces which embody brand values to become collaboration hubs will complement hybrid working policies and benefit employees in a huge way. 

In 2024 the office isn’t dead, it’s just different. 

Want to know more?

Let's chat! You can call us on +44 020 3770 4279 or email hello@kontor.com

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