4 Reasons to Re-Think the Traditional Office

For many Millennials, the word “office” drums up visions of 1970s wood-paneled walls, fluorescent lighting and an endless maze of cubicles. While we’re just starting to understand what lies in the future of the “office,” the truth is, it’s changing quickly. If you’re thinking about leasing a property or a new office space, you may want to pay attention to a few new office space trends:

1. Working Remotely. The “work from home” trend is growing- in fact, 2014 boasted a 26 percent increase in open remote job postings over the year. Mobile and desktop apps like Slack or Asana make it so easy to communicate with team members whether sitting at a desk or poolside in Cabo. If you’re investing in property keep this trend in mind – with more employees working away from the office, it means companies can shave off valuable square footage of used office space. Just be aware that there can be cons to working remotely – brainstorming sessions may be harder to come by, and training new employees can always become an obstacle without face-to-face interaction. Always take the time and evaluate the space you need.

2. Everybody’ working for the weekend. Or are they? The traditional 9-to-5 is becoming less of the standard. Like it or not, work happens whenever, wherever. With smartphones in the hands of thousands of workers, it’s almost impossible to be unavailable. I’m not sure I can name a single commercial real estate agent who works a typical 9-to-5 job – when we’re not in the office making calls or brokering deals, we’re out at client dinners, showing properties, attending networking events – all which extend past 5pm and into the weekend. If you plan on having people coming in and going out at odd hours, you may want to consider buildings or spaces with 24/7 access, security and amenities.

3. Redefining “working together.” According to an INMAN 2012 poll, “92 percent of successful agents are in their brick-and-mortar offices fewer than 15 hours per month.” That’ a lot of wasted space. An interesting trend, especially for the commercial real estate markets (and similar) is a shift into co-working spaces. Incubators have started to house all types of startups and freelancers in one space. Benefits of these spaces include working alongside similar like-minded individuals, entrepreneurs – all from different disciplines (agents, brokers, lenders) – and in an environment that promotes working together and encouraging each other to work their best. If you are a small team or a freelancer, you may want to consider setting up shop at your local co-working space to save space and money.

4. New amenities. Parking spots, flex-time and”…bike racks? New needs are emerging, and real estate is rushing to meet them. LEED efficient building standards are more about environmental management – buildings are being designed specifically to encourage healthy habits among employees. Bike racks, gyms or rooms large enough to accommodate stand-up desks are new resources offered to employees. The sky’ the limit in any office these days. If you’re a business owner, consider adding a few of these non-traditional amenities to boost morale, productivity and encourage healthy lifestyle habits.

As companies invest in mixed in-office and remote work environments, the physical location is still a strong element of work that we need to keep track of and better understand. If you’re thinking about leasing a property or even investing in new buildings, consider these trends as we move towards the new office workplace.

Are you a recent graduate or a couple of years into the profession? Check out our previous post on the seven habits of highly successful real estate agents.

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