Likely trends in office buildings over the next five years

commercial real estate Jul 10, 2020

The pandemic that we’re experiencing will be felt in many ways for many years to come. An overlooked area of commercial real estate is the design. Our surroundings have a huge impact on the way we think, behave and feel. Business owners that are finding new offices that are to their personal liking, must consider their employees’ views beyond their own. For those renting office space, there are quite a few design trends that are shaping 2020, despite the majority of companies experiencing lockdown. We might see a higher renegotiation rent rate as businesses employ more at-home staff.

The need for spatial awareness

Who would have thought that the world’s population would be saying the term ‘social distancing’ so trippingly off the tongue? It's incredible how spatial awareness has shaped modern society in the commercial real estate industry, in just 3-4 months. That said, more spatial design awareness is going to make office spaces better for stopping the spread of the virus. Now, it's twice as important. Cubicles are a thing of the past. Although they are efficient in their taking up of space, they negatively impact workers’ mental health. But rows and rows of tables and chairs, doesn’t make it any easier. Instead, landlords need to implement personal desks and chairs, that has two peoples’ width worth of space between the next. Renting office space is no longer about maximizing employee workstations as remote working is now a viable option for businesses. This could cause a rise in office lease negotiations.

Making it seem larger

Businesses with small offices or with not enough space need to take an office tour rather than finding new offices. Or they can implement enlarging measures in the right places. A great deal of natural light needs to flow throughout the office. This means, no putting up of privacy walls and the use of glass needs to become normalized. Glass desks and glass coffee tables are a start but make good use of glass office doors. Renting office space is easier when you don’t have to spend a lot on other things that would crowd the working space. Put desks and lounge areas next to windows, use frameless windows for maximum sunlight to enter the floor. Give your employees an office tour to show them the changes in detail.

Remote teams

Over the next 5 years, we'll see a visible decrease in the number of people working in offices. This will cause businesses to renegotiation rent with companies like Brookfield, Boston Properties, and JBG Smith. It's not that the number of jobs is decreasing but in fact, more people will be working from home. Remote working has literally saved so many businesses from going out of business. This is why renegotiation rent rates could set to increase. Commercial office portfolio giants like JBG Smith, Brookfield, and Boston Properties are making it easier to stay rather than engage in finding new offices. Office lease negotiations could be more viable as Brookfield injects $5 billion into its commercial real estate. Boston properties are offering $1.25 billion in unsecured notes to keep tenants interested in staying. JBG Smith on the other hand is using $2 billion to ride out the crisis. You have two options now, use the loans offered to you by commercial real estate giants or go the remote working route.

Ground-level safety

Those invested in any commercial office portfolio will want personal hygiene and safety to be taken much more seriously now. Commercial office portfolio companies that don’t improve general health and safety post-pandemic, could see a rise in office lease negotiations from tenants. But sanitation will become a core responsibility of every worker and every business owner. Hand wash soap bottles need to become normal in every office and among every team. Business owners will feel more inclined to send their staff home if they’re sick or if they develop a sickness. Giving employees an office tour is beneficial as you can point out key safety practices in different places such as the washrooms.

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