Workspace 2023 Mega Trends | By Jonathan Vanstone-Walker (Pt. 2)

By Jonathan Vanstone-Walker
News • Thoughts
24th January 23

The top priority for occupiers in 2023?

The occupiers I speak to have 2 main concerns for the year ahead:

First, they’re cautious and are making efficiencies. That doesn’t necessarily mean cutting costs, but perhaps they are hiring fewer people or trying to make their staff as productive as possible. They’re very interested in how the office can help with this goal.

Second, the leaders seem exasperated and keen to get their people back to the office more frequently. I think many secretly dream of “doing an Elon” but are worried about upsetting and losing staff.

What most excites you about the workspace of tomorrow?

I’m excited to see more landlords raise their game and provide better office spaces.

These offices are really becoming places that you look forward to going to. I was recently at GPE’s The Hickman – what they’ve done there is very creative and hotel-like. I also love the vibe in all the TOG buildings I’ve been to. It’s all underpinned by excellent architecture and design, and this is seeping out into the wider market. Overall the standard is now far higher and that makes the market more interesting.

It shows landlords are starting to innovate and iterate new concepts. I’m sure there will be even more revolutionary ideas ahead.

I also love that these spaces are now being designed for flexibility and productivity, rather than just a place to go and sit for 8 hours. There is some real thought going into how people will use offices as a tool, empowering them to work flexibly.

Everything’s changing – what isn’t changing in real estate?

The fundamentals will never change.

The old cliché of it being a people business remains true. Try winning a new client, investor, or tenant without meeting them or visiting the building – it’s impossible.

But more than that, I think that people are always going to seek out spaces to connect with other humans. I’d argue that this need will only increase in the future.

We were playing with ChatGPT in the office the other day, and while it’s incredible technology, I think it’s bullish for real estate. Soon people won’t know the difference between a human and a machine online. We’ll value experiences in the real world and real spaces much more.

Lastly, real estate is still one of the only assets you can leverage – people will always want to own it to generate cashflow and wealth.

By Jonathan Vanstone-Walker
Missed part 1? Read it here.

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