COMMENT | Evolving offices: what creates the right space?

Bradley ToppsWe’ve seen an unprecedented shift in working habits over the past six months, which has left many reviewing what office space means to them. So, after a period of reflection, what are the key things we know we need to deliver? writes Bradley Topps of Bruntwood SciTech.

The quality of office space is more important than ever. Think about air quality, smart technology, communal and outdoor space, as well as technology-enabled spaces and creative breakout areas that inspire innovation and facilitate collaboration.

In all of this, flexibility and affordability are key. Businesses must be adaptive and agile, and their office space must reflect this. Consider spaces that offer the right products for a business to contract and grow.

For start-ups, entrepreneurs and freelancers, co-working space could be ideal for flexibility, with the opportunity to pay for just the desk you need when you need it, while surrounding yourself with other bright minds and collaborators.

For businesses looking for room to grow, serviced offices offer a more flexible solution enabling businesses to move seamlessly into their new space with a pay per desk rate for as little as six months.

With capital expenditure coming under increasing scrutiny, larger businesses looking to relocate may prefer a more inclusive, full fit-out offering. A ‘made-and-managed’ office is a hassle-free option as the space is designed, created and fully managed for a single monthly fee. You select a bespoke package of services and a fit-out reflective of your brand and personalised to the way you work.

Digital connectivity is also an important factor when choosing the right space for your business. Opt for spaces that offer best-in-class connectivity, such as those with a WiredScore platinum rating or those located in a 5G testbed.

It’s also worth looking into locations that offer shared meeting and lounge facilities as this will provide you with a more efficient use of your own space, while at the same time providing an alternative place for meeting external visitors or holding internal events.

No.2 Circle Square Workspace

Workspace at Bruntwood SciTech’s No.2 Circle Square in Manchester

Businesses should also pay attention to the wider working environment, as workforce health and wellbeing has never been so important. Outdoor space is vital, with many businesses promoting walking meetings, collaboration in outdoor spaces and social events outside. So, finding space with access to plenty of green space, a rooftop terrace or courtyard is essential. Glasshouse at Alderley Park is surrounded by 400 acres of parkland, offering walking, running and cycling routes, while Circle Square offers direct access to Symphony Park, Manchester’s newest green space.

Location is also crucial for attracting, maintaining and nurturing top talent. Choosing a workplace located in a vibrant area that offers food and beverage options, gym or wellness facilities will be attractive to your employees and a huge benefit to any company looking to attract talent. Close proximity to universities also enables businesses to tap into the skills and talent available on their doorstep.

Proximity to transport links and with access to parking is another priority. Look out for places that have bike storage, shower and changing facilities to ensure your employees have complete choice in how they travel to and from work.

Flexibility, a richer work-life balance and innovative office spaces are all things employers need to give serious thought to going forward. While we may see a temporary rise in remote working, there is no question that the office is still an essential asset to any business.

Look for inspiring and creative spaces in vibrant areas and the office will become a place where employees will want to spend their time.

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