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Designing tomorrow's offices

202203 Article Fokus HR  News  Hero image

Open-space, teleworking or co-working space: the office has changed over the years. As in most areas, environmental and societal issues have become part of their configuration. Rethinking the office for its ergonomics and for well-being at work could well contribute to the productivity of companies.

Annick Vandenbulcke is responsible for occupier advice at Colliers Belgium. According to her, integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria into office fit-out "will become essential".

Sustainable buildings and materials

Firstly, Annick Vandenbulcke points out that when it comes to the concept of a sustainable office, ESG criteria are not just about the building itself. "In the choice of materials for the interior, for example, there are more and more sustainable choices. Also, when it comes to the environmental criterion, it is obvious that the choice of one building over another can have a completely different impact. She cites, for example, an intelligent location with regard to public transport, or the existence of electric charging points for vehicles.

"These buildings will be a much more strategic choice from an ESG point of view than other buildings that do not offer these services," she explains, but this is not the primary criterion. Before choosing a building, it is important to identify a company's needs. "When advising a client on the choice of a building, we define a programme that optimises their needs, as well as the working environment best suited to them.” The idea is to optimise the number of square metres in order to use them in the best possible way, because "every square metre that we optimise is a square metre that is not heated and fitted out unnecessarily".

Workplace well-being and ergonomics

But ESG criteria are also about well-being at work. It is about providing "pleasant offices with all the necessary tools to work productively. And this goes far beyond ergonomics at work, which is a technical aspect. For the occupier advisor, "the fittings must also create a sense of belonging and facilitate exchanges with colleagues".

Creating spaces where people like to work and where they like to go is crucial to the overall effectiveness of workers. This is even more so when hybrid working takes hold in organisations. Teams must be allowed to meet in the right conditions. Both face-to-face and remote. Not forgetting to create more secluded areas, offering a suitable setting for people who need peace and quiet or whose certain tasks require a quiet place.

Annick Vandenbulcke reminds us of the interest for an organisation to consider the integration of ESG criteria in office design: "a working environment in line with the objectives and challenges of the organisation can certainly contribute to productivity and well-being".

Source: Fokus Online


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Annick Vandenbulcke

Head of Occupier Advisory | Managing Director

Brussels (Colliers)

As Head of Occupier Advisory I help clients to develop real estate solutions that support their business strategy. Wheather they want to improve their image, optimize their finances, support growth or create a cultural change, their real estate can help achieve these challanges.  With a large experience in workplace strategy, tenant representation and office fitout I can provide advice throughout the whole real estate process. 

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