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Navigating Uncertain Terrain Means Balancing Three Big C’s

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Navigating Uncertain Terrain Means Balancing Three Big C’s

Staggeringly, 83% out of 9,000 workers included in an Accenture survey felt a hybrid work model would be the optimal solution going forward. And our own research revealed that 82% of workers felt their office layout needs reshaping or rethinking in the post-pandemic era - with 39% prioritising new technology over other features.

But as we return to the workplace in a post-pandemic reality, there’s a lot to consider to get things right. Navigating this very uncertain terrain means balancing three big C’s:

  1. Culture
  2. Collaboration
  3. Construction

Our latest report explains how to balance these pillars through workplace trends, innovative designs and forward-thinking methodologies rolling out across Europe.

This week, we’re sharing a look at two more workplace trends to keep you ahead of the curve:

Trend #3: Relocating, upsizing or downsizing office spaces

When it comes to design, bigger isn’t always better.

Last year, seemingly untouchable giants like HSBC and Lloyds announced they’d be reducing office space due to falling profits and their staff choosing to work from home. Furthermore, an independent survey by Accumulate Capital of more than 500 senior decision-makers revealed 73% expect their business to downsize as a result of the pandemic.

And this is a trend that we’ve witnessed firsthand in Turkey. Spring 2020 triggered a cultural shift across the country. Consequently, many organisations sought to either relocate or downsize their office area. But this isn’t seen as a downgrade. Instead, it’s an opportunity to transform their offices into hybrid spaces - the future of modern workspaces.

But this isn’t the full story. While some industries such as banking look to downsize their infrastructure, others are moving in the opposite direction For example, pharmaceutical companies are looking to relocate or construct brand new production facilities in Istanbul and the surrounding area.

Trend #4: Office refits rise as culture changes

German design is famous for its functional aesthetic, however we are seeing a more playful and liberal use of space coming to the forefront. From airports turned into leisure parks and abandoned buildings becoming bars, the country is a pioneer when it comes to reusing space.

And this goes for retail too. As a great number of stores lay vacant after several shutdowns in 2020 and 2021, many landlords are now offering favourable contracts to new tenants from the retail sector. Consequently, new fashion cosmetics retailers and fitness centres are now opening in prime locations - and at moderate rental costs.

But this isn’t the only change happening in the streets of Germany.

As workplace culture continues to shift and evolve, innovative office refits are now booming too.

Germany is seeing many companies reduce their workplaces, sublease spaces and create hybrid offices. Crucially, more and more companies are creating diverse, appealing and restful working landscapes for their employees, instead of large open-space offices. There’s been a monumental shift from cellularised and hierarchical environments, to dynamic activity-based workplaces.

Understandably, investments that were planned for the last 1-5 years in both office and retail sectors were postponed in 2020. But now that economic confidence is growing, so too are investments in construction.

When Area was appointed to take on the refit for Infosys in Frankfurt, we faced multiple challenges.

We made the most of the landlord’s cost contribution whilst ensuring to keep in line with the customer’s budget. Also, there was the small issue of delivering this large-scale project in the middle of a global pandemic. No easy feat.

So how did we do it?

As the project scope was clearly restricted by budget, value engineering beforehand was crucial. In particular, focusing on measures that would offer the greatest benefit for the customer. During the design phase, Area worked closely with both the customer, landlord and their local partner to see how they could reduce costs without compromising quality. Consequently, we managed to make major savings from retaining the technical infrastructure of the building and focusing on the architectural features that offered more physical and immediate impact for employees.

During the construction phase, we continuously provided the customer with cost and technical information to ensure efficiency and sustainability. In particular, our delivery team identified non-regional products and looked into sourcing materials locally. This approach not only solved supply and delivery issues; it saved the client considerable costs as well.

Paying equal attention to collaboration and culture, the resulting office space includes a mixture of open plan areas to work and relax in and closed booths for private calls and concentration. There’s inspiring artwork, swing seats in boardrooms and a table football area for leisure time. With a modern look, yet laid back feel, this new office is calm, contemporary and cutting edge.

Can’t wait for our final 2 trends in January?

Our latest guide ‘A Spotlight Series: Workspace Across Europe’ shares all 6 trends, alongside 10 inspirational designs and 1 ultimate method for planning a future-proofed workplaces in Europe.

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