What to look for in your workspace in 2024.

| Leanne Forshaw Jones

The new working year is well underway and we’re already seeing a shift in appetite from businesses looking for more add-ons in their workspaces in 2024. Thankfully, we work with agile landlords who are more than willing to embrace change. In this article, we delve into the upcoming trends, providing insights into what lies ahead for the next 12 months

An unwavering commitment to sustainability

In an era where environmental consciousness is paramount, both at home and at work, businesses are increasingly prioritising sustainable practices.Landlords are responding – incorporating energy-efficient lighting systems, smart building technologies, and eco-friendly materials in construction and furnishings.

This commitment to sustainability is continuing to grow, with some incredibly sustainable examples reaching the North West market soon – not least C3 at MediaCity. The iconic, £140 million, 11-storey, innovation-led development features in our Canning O’Neill portfolio and, when it completes, it aims to achieve Net Zero Carbon development status. It will further bolster the portfolio of MediaCity’s net zero carbon buildings which currently has the highest cluster in the UK.

Nurturing spaces that promote wellbeing

Landlords across our portfolio are increasingly creating and refurbishing spaces that prioritise the wellbeing of employees, adding things like cafés, gyms, breakout spaces – even biophilic design, which integrates natural elements into the workspace.

We’ve seen this at places like Bridge Properties’ Element in Birchwood. The remodelling completed last year and now features a high-quality café and licenced bar with business lounge and external terrace, a state-of-the-art fully fitted gym, a cycle hub including changing room, showers and lockers, a top floor mezzanine area with roof terrace and a concierge Service.

Such initiatives are really welcomed by occupiers and reflect a broader commitment to fostering environments that enhance the physical and mental health of employees.

Encouraging sustainable transportation options

Back in the day, car parking spaces were a common demand from occupiers. Now, landlords are adapting by incorporating features like bike racks, electric vehicle charging stations, and strategically locating workspaces near public transport routes.

It’s a shift that aligns with a collective effort to reduce carbon emissions and promote environmentally friendly commuting options.

Fitted and furnished spaces

The most common attribute among the occupiers we talk to is that they’re short on time. And that’s why we’re seeing an increasing appetite for “fitted and furnished” workspaces – spaces that are ready for a business to just move into.

Such spaces do exist in our current portfolio – one example being this fitted and furnished city centre space at 42 Fountain Street in Manchester – a building which notably comes with bike storage, showers, and meditation room for occupiers – as well as Eden Point in Cheadle Hulme – one of the most prominent office buildings in South Manchester.

Short-term leases

Long gone are the days of rigid, lengthy leases. Many of today’s occupiers seek flexibility, and this is reflected in the increasing popularity of short to mid-term leases. Ranging from a few months to a few years, these leases offer businesses the agility to scale up or down quickly, catering to changing staff sizes, operational needs, or market dynamics.

Particularly advantageous for start-ups, project-based companies, or those exploring new markets, short-term leases provide the adaptability needed in today’s dynamic business landscape.

Ultimately, demands are changing, and workspaces in 2024 are defined by a commitment to sustainability, a focus on employee wellbeing, and a recognition of the need for flexible, ready-to-use solutions.

As businesses navigate this ever-changing terrain, aligning with these emerging trends ensures the creation of not just a workspace but an environment conducive to growth, innovation, and overall success.