By Leeson Medhurst, Head of Strategy, Peldon Rose
How workplace consultants can help commercial landlords
The pressure on commercial landlords is greater than ever before. Many businesses have taken the last 18 months to reassess and reevaluate what they need from an office and understand how to integrate a new hybrid approach to working in the longer term. This has resulted in a hugely competitive marketplace, meaning landlords need to work harder than ever to attract new tenants, and keep hold of existing ones.
So, the question is, what do landlords need to do to come out on top?
A modern approach
Occupants now want more than just a well-designed office. They want the spaces they’re working in to be flexible, support and elevate their wellbeing, deliver on sustainability and offer a destination to socialise and reconnect with colleagues, something we have been deprived of during a prolonged period of working from home. Juggling all of these demands can make it difficult to know where to begin when it comes to creating spaces that will attract future tenants, and make them want to stay.
The first step in understanding your tenant’s needs starts with determining what a good worklife means to them. Worklife is that recognition that great work leads to a great life, and vice versa. Those two things are no longer separate and their integration leads to great things.
To get under the skin of this, you have to ask questions, and the answers help to build a picture of how a company and its people work together. This means looking at internal factors such as business structures and culture, right the way through to elements such as building analysis and how people may travel to a space. It means speaking to people across all levels of a business to create a complete picture. Then you can start to understand how a space should function and evolve for your tenants to get the most out of it, and importantly deliver a return on investment.
A destination for teams
A real shift that is already happening in how people use offices is the rise of the office as a destination. People have more choice now about where they want to carry out particular tasks, and in order for a workplace to continue to deliver for tenants it needs to support this. Individuals may choose to stay at home when they’re focusing on activity which requires concentration and quiet. However, there is no question that the office is the best place for collaboration, group work and idea generation.
When developing a new space for prospective tenants it’s vital to keep this in mind, but it also pays dividends when it comes to convincing a current tenant to continue or extend their lease. Bringing in workplace consultants to understand the shifting needs of a business means that an existing space can be easily reconfigured to support this move towards destination offices. Banks of desks can make way for open-plan, spacious areas that spark creativity and bring people together, helping to reignite the office as a creative hub.
Another key consideration for businesses when it comes to their office space is sustainability and supporting a better world. For a lot of businesses this is engrained in their purpose, but advancing government regulations also mean that commercial buildings need to adapt in order to meet key standards. It’s predicted that one in ten office spaces in London will become unusable in two years unless landlords invest heavily to bring them up to scratch, meaning that embedding sustainability is no longer just a benefit, it’s a necessity.
Again, consultants can play a key role in supporting landlords so that they can meet and exceed the expectations of clients through programmes and certifications such as LEED, BREEAM and WELL, but they can also make sure that landlords don’t fall foul of changing legislation. Put simply sustainability now needs to be an integral part of the design, build and operations of an office.
A renewed focus on wellbeing
The people that make up any company are one of its greatest assets, and in order to retain and attract the best staff a strong focus on wellbeing has become a vital part of what any business has to offer. This can of course be supported through operations and staff engagement, but landlords who take the time to adapt the design of a space for tenants can also be a deal breaker for many companies.
Implementing biophilic design through planting and key features is a great way to boost a space’s wellbeing credentials. By taking inspiration from the outdoors and mimicking natural spaces, we can replicate the connection with nature that supports productivity and a greater sense of wellbeing.
Creating quiet and calm spaces for reflection and installing solutions to encourage physical activity such as shower rooms and bike racks means employees can focus on their wellbeing. For existing tenants, this means going back to basics and asking the right questions to get to grips with how their needs have changed. If you are creating a new space for prospective tenants, it’s about understanding how teams work and creating a space that supports this.
By focusing on these key areas and adapting to the shifts we have seen in the way people work, landlords can attract new tenants and importantly keep hold of those who have gone through the process of reconsidering what they need from a workplace. At Peldon Rose, we have a dedicated Strategy team to help with this to ensure that landlords can continue to be successful and grow their businesses at a time of real change.
To find out more about Peldon Rose’s Strategy team visit peldonrose.com.