For decades two key drivers, above all other elements, have topped the list of occupier demand when selecting their Grade A office; cost and location took precedence over and above all else and more often than not made or broke deals. That is until now. As the economy changes along with occupier demands Damian Mitchell talks about the changing face of ‘Grade A’ and Causeway’s innovative Future-Fit Space concept.
Today, for almost every company looking for Grade A space, is being in the right place, at the right price enough? If the digital connectivity of the space doesn’t meet, support and exceed a firm’s technological infrastructure requirements it’s a significant barrier to the decision-making process so companies must factor this into occupier requirements and building design and delivery.
Despite this, and the increase in remote working you might expect the super-connectedness of modern day work life to spawn, the fact is that the average worker is still anticipated to spend 90% of their life indoors. And Global corporations like Apple and Google have realised way ahead of the curve that health truly is wealth and are place-making to change this.
The so-called ‘mothership’ campus that is Apple Park, legacy of founder Steve Jobs and the future headquarters of Apple Inc. in Cupertino, California, opened in April last year to its first phase of occupants and closer to home internet search titan Google submitted much publicised final plans for its epic and highly anticipated London ‘landscraper’ to Camden Council.
Love or loath the architecture of either; and revered technology magazine Wired has already made its view on Jobs’ legacy widely known in a scathing review of Apple’s new campus when it got the opportunity, these mega-projects and others of their ilk are proving that the big global players realise environment is vital to get the best from their workforce. Both are quite clearly prepared to invest heavily in ensuring the wellbeing of their workforce is front and centre.
Agents, developers, investors and landlords are all looking very closely at landmark projects that buck the trends of traditional commercial place-making to see what can be gleaned and applied to their own corporate spaces to maximise the effectiveness of their workforce through better health and wellbeing.
At Causeway we’re continually developing our ‘Future-Fit’ Spaces to adapt space to ensure that the needs of the occupier are met, and this could involve anything from gyms and cafes to work-out room and contemplations spaces. We’re considering health & wellbeing alongside digital connectivity, cost and location as shown in our two recently launched office developments at Chichester House and Nine Lanyon Place, totalling 200,000 sq ft and both in Belfast’s central business district.
For occupiers the mantra that “healthy workers are happy workers, and happy workers don’t just perform better, but cost less” isn’t a new one, over the past decade businesses have become increasingly interested in employee wellbeing not only to reduce absenteeism but also as a method to increase productivity, retention and drive innovation.
When you check out US health statistics you can see why the addition of a swimming pool, games rooms, and a running track to Google’s London HQ might be a bit more rooted in HR strategy than PR showmanship.
Exactly what shape the generic office of the future will take remains to be seen and many think that following any ‘generic’ formula may become a thing of the past. Whatever happens our view at Causeway is that the key to truly ‘Future-Fit’ space is flexibility and adaptation to meet the changing needs of occupiers on an individual basis, in our Belfast market, whatever they might be today and more importantly, tomorrow.