As the last of the New Year’s Resolutions blow away and we take a hard look at the year, 2023 presents an economic landscape quite different to previous years. Putin’s aggression in Ukraine shattered the popularly held belief that the World’s Superpowers would always choose trade over war. The cost of Brexit – higher tariffs, depleted labour market, capital flight etc., foments an environment ripe for industrial unrest and increasing inflation.
However, as in any changing environment, there is opportunity. Listed below are our thoughts on the top five workspace trends that will be shaping the workplace through 2023.
This title may sound a little surprising; strike action is threatening to make travelling on public transport increasingly difficult for months to come and the government have softened their stance on encouraging staff back into the office. Getting to the office sounds harder than usual, so why is it more important?
We all have a fundamental need of stability and security. Reports of wars, strikes and protests, and the bombardment of other news 24 hours a day make this need even more acute. And the workplace can answer this. As a gathering point of like-minded people. An area where people are respected as individuals and can come together to collaborate, to innovate and to inspire each other.
For support with planning your workspace needs, talk to our office space specialists at Rhino.
It is not possible to discuss the concept articulated above, without first discussing ‘working from Anywhere’.
Fundamentally, we predict that company attitudes, tech hardware and software integration will align so that work can happen effectively – from anywhere. It is then the responsibility of the organisation to extend the trust and autonomy to the individual to select their own environment. This may also extend to groups getting together in mutually agreed locations for meetings or to join video conference. For example, five members of staff could gather in a coffee shop in Warwick for an hour, instead of getting the train into the Birmingham head office. The outcome is richer than a video-conference meeting, and the disruption and expense is less than travelling to the head office.
There’s nothing like the early frost of a recession, plus news of a few mass lay-offs to change the tone of the labour market. The start of the year still has the ‘staff call the shots’ feel to labour relations, but with companies increasingly concerned about their competitiveness and efficiency, many know that face-to-face time is the only way to improve problem solving and creativity. This could result in more businesses increasing their requirements for in-person attendance at the office.
On a positive note, trials of the four-day working week held in 2022 were largely successful. This practice is being taken up by more companies; stimulating staff to work harder and smarter for the days they are committed to. This allows the business to save on energy and running costs on the fifth day, as well as increasing employee wellbeing.
Given the two factors cited above, companies will take a serious look at the spaces they occupy. Now it is clear there will never be a return to the pre-Covid presenteeism model. Every lease expiry or lease break will be viewed as an opportunity to reassess requirements.
Landlords may see this as a threat which could result in them taking back empty space just to preserve the integrity of their buildings and office parks.
Every other tenant will be doing this which is likely to bring a steady circulation of office stock – especially the mid-size floorplates. Demand will keep the rates for prime quality stock buoyant. However we will see inferior quality stock, and buildings which have not been updated being very difficult to let for offices. The likelihood is that these properties will be taken out of the market and converted to residential.
If your lease is due to expire soon, contact the Rhino team to find out how you can futureproof your business using our unique data-driven approach.
Energy has been one of the buzzwords of 2022 – breath-taking fuel prices and spiralling household energy bills. For many industries new tariffs could spell the end of profitability – sometimes even viability. And this won’t go away anytime soon. Considering the energy needed to create, heat and light, the UK has been slow to track real-time data on patterns of occupancy and energy requirements for buildings.
In 2023, we will harness the power of data to map our spaces and check how our team are colonising the areas, and measure power more intelligently (such as lighting, air conditioning and fresh air systems.).
In addition to our top five, we expect to still see the trends which were gaining ground last year continuing:
Organisations with clarity on how and where to operate, and clear structures of accountability and respect will stand out in 2023. They will be ready to grasp opportunities, while other less well-organised businesses are losing energy (and potentially staff) through their lack of clarity.
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