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Five trends define the future officescape

office trends

The office workplace has yet to find its new identity, but there are several indications that businesses intend to woo new workers by offering spacious and luxurious offices.

In June 2021, Colliers released a global survey, in which more than 4,000 business respondents agreed that a third of work hours is to be allocated to working from home. Flexibility shot to the top of the list of most important parameters for a successful workplace.

Despite new expectations of increased flexibility, however, we have seen the return of congested arterial roads into major towns and cities and rigid tailback times on the same scale as witnessed before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

This could therefore suggest that the office workplace has yet to find a new and clear identity, just as there are multiple feasible scenarios for the future Greater Copenhagen officescape right now. In the following, we pinpoint five trends that we believe to prevail in today’s Danish market.

1. No demand for a reduction of space
COVID-19 has taught us a lesson or two about office space requirements. Firstly, many workers are fine with working from home a couple of days a week. In addition, it has turned out that they work more efficiently, partly because physical meetings to a large extent may be converted into online meetings.

However, COVID-19 has also revealed that we greatly miss being together with our co-workers and that we have been looking forward to returning to our workplace. In this connection, many businesses have come to realise that homeworking takes a severe toll on knowledge-sharing.

In addition, we see that the quality of office workspace is increasingly used as a competition parameter in the pursuit of talent, with focus mainly on “social spaces”, often requiring more square metres of space than in the past. Similarly, mounting demand for small meeting rooms point in the same direction.
 
Although some businesses have already announced plans to downscale premises, we believe that this has to do with preliminary tests. A highly likely scenario is therefore that the overall demand for space will be completely unchanged in one, two and five years from now.

2. More sublets
Many major commercial tenants have committed to long non-terminability periods, and for some the need will arise to reduce space, e.g. due to efficiency enhancing measures, outsourcing or homeworking. Businesses that have yet to make a final decision to reduce office space in the long run will therefore be more likely to have a go at subletting excess space, possibly on fixed-duration lease agreements, with the option to retain the original space in time.

3. Shorter non-terminability periods
Both the financial crisis and COVID-19 have proved that the world is in constant change, which may trigger a demand for up- or downscaling office premises at relatively short notice. Flexible lease terms offering as short a commitment period as possible have therefore long been requested by commercial tenants. This goes right against the best interest of landlords. Who will win this fight longer term? We believe that landlords to a greater extent will be forced to offer tenants shorter non-terminability periods.

4. Open-plan offices will prevail in new “packaging”
Just like the open-plan kitchen/living room has become a preferred feature of private homes, open-plan offices have gained ground in the office segment. Even attorneys and accountants that usually prefer cell offices have now also started to arrange open-plan offices. However, we have for some time now seen a trend in favour of activity-based workspaces in so-called neighbourhoods featuring hybrid solutions where the workers move around the office’s various work zones, fitted for specific purposes.

Overall, we believe that this trend will continue in combination with more small-sized meeting rooms and “pods” for virtual meetings.

5. Lease premises with personality and comfort
As businesses strive to attract and retain workers, we see a clear trend towards businesses increasingly looking for office lease premises that offer something extra that may support the business’ recruitment chances, culture and branding. For instance, a high-ceilinged “warehouse ambience” with exposed installations in historical buildings has long been a sought-after commodity. In fact, businesses tend to make a greater effort to offer an attractive workplace with an emphasis on layout, indoor climate, colour schemes, décor, attractive coffee or lunch perks, etc.


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Martin Østengaard

Director and Head of Office Leasing, Copenhagen

Copenhagen

Martin’s primary areas of expertise are office letting and lease advisory services.  

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