16 July 2019   

10 min read
The workplace is undergoing a drastic evolution driven by the increased demand for flexible working enabled by technology and the changing attitudes of a more mobile workforce. More than ever, tenants are demanding a differentiated and more thoughtful working experience rather than just a space to work that attracts and retains top talent.

For Stockland, that means designing flexible, sustainable, collaborative and innovative workplaces that unlock an organisation’s potential. It also means working with clients to create the healthiest and most productive work spaces for their employees.

According to Rob Speyer, Global CEO of real estate company Tishman Speyer, developers must be focused on more than bricks and mortar; they have to understand how people are using buildings in a different way.

It is no longer enough to consider an office space on a standalone basis – the workplace of the future is an integrated space for working, playing and living. Buildings that provide a more interactive, diverse and personalised experience will attract great employees and this can be an important differentiator for businesses.

In an Urbis article Global trends in mixed use development: the new paradigm in urban placemaking – Sarah Horsfield makes the case that for mixed use projects to be successful, they must consider amenity, precinct programming and architecture. Developers must learn to work with designers and urban planners to bring together affordable, healthy, green, smart design in order to transform social outcomes. This means that today’s developers also need to be sociologists to understand how people are using space in fundamentally different ways.

Despite a rise in remote working and the contingent workforce, the workplace still has an important function within the culture of a business. It is the one thing that provides employees with a shared experience.

Speyer believes that, despite views to the contrary, the internet has deepened a desire for face-to-face interaction and connectivity. Office workers want to work near each other in open spaces that foster collaboration; demand for office space with discrete areas like cubicles or individual offices, is in decline. Speyer suggests that workplaces where people can meet either intentionally or by chance and build community through common spaces will succeed.

At the heart of the design of a collaborative workplace is human connection - meeting with teammates, social interaction and connecting with an organisation’s brand. In the new workplace, people are coming together to tackle projects, then disbanding and moving on to new assignments so the space needs to be able to change and adapt to support greater creativity and collaboration.

As organisations become more agile and employees more flexible in their working habits, businesses are seeking a diverse range of working locations. More businesses are thinking about how they can take advantage of the flexible workplace products out there.

In the past few years, co-working has shaken up the commercial real estate market and led to an explosion of coworking providers. Where originally co-working spaces were snapped up by small and fast-growing start-ups wanting flexible office space to grow their business, businesses of all sizes are looking for new space without the limitations of a long lease. An article in Real Estate Weekly suggests that by 2030, co-working or flexible office spaces will make up 30 per cent of corporate real estate portfolios.

Then there’s the migration of the younger workforce to more affordable locations where they don’t need a car and they can find a sense of community. Developers are meeting them there with workspaces that are creative.

While some companies do like to ‘share’, they also like to have access to private space too. So, workplaces are being designed with future-ready spaces that can flex and change as business needs change.

As cubicle-style personal offices are replaced by more open, collaborative and productive activity-based environments, there is also an imperative to bring ‘life’ into the workplace. Stockland is spending a lot of time imagining what that looks like and focusing on identifying site specific spaces that can flex and change over time to meet tenants’ ongoing needs.

Much has been written about the incorporation of the ‘third space’ such as cafes, parks and urban gardens in the design of workplaces to encourage connection and wellbeing at work. Spaces that respond to the human need to connect and gather help to facilitate collaboration and a sense of community. For instance, tech-enabled landscaped parkland spaces allow workers to relax, meet or exercise.

Stockland will continue to adapt its workplace offerings to meet the needs of the modern workforce centred around human connection, with M_Park in Macquarie Park a perfect example of true workplace of the future, M_Park offers an innovative and flexible approach to working. Learn more here.