9 October 2020/ rent_office_guide

Five up and coming office facilities

Offices to rent at Realla

The office as we know it has changed quite a bit over the last six months. However, long before we were forced into a strange remote-working limbo, offices across the country were already beginning to change.

Real estate giant JLL found demand for flexible and co-working spaces is growing faster than any other office space. This type of office is expected to grow its presence from 5% of the market to around 30% by 2030. Companies also tend to favour shorter leases of one to two years, rather than traditional 10+ year contracts.

But what about the facilities inside these workspaces? From pop-up privacy booths to yoga spaces to workstations designed to accommodate the needs of every kind of worker, here are five of the most exciting up and coming office facilities you need to know about.


1. Flexible private spaces

Before the pandemic, this coincidentally COVID-secure trend was already becoming popular in many office spaces. There are lots of benefits to an open office space, including:

  • Increased creativity
  • Reduced feelings of isolation
  • A more collaborative feel
  • Lower cost per employee (as open plan desks take up less space than desk booths)

The open-plan layout isn’t without its drawbacks though. Research has found many workers find them highly distracting and struggle to concentrate on important tasks without a private space to retreat to. If your office space doesn’t have enough breakout spaces or meeting rooms, it can be tricky to find a place to get your head down.

Luckily, innovative new solutions are helping overcome this problem. Companies including Room, Furnify and MEAVO offer private workstations or phone booths that can be installed in virtually any office space. These unique options are soundproof (or reduce outside noise significantly), ventilated and even have plugs and desks to work at.

Even if a work pod is out of your budget, Perspex or glass partitions are becoming an increasingly popular permanent feature. It’s a great way to give employees a sense of having their own space without pushing costs up or ditching the open office altogether, as well as keep everybody safe.

2. Creative breakout spaces

According to co-working space company Mindspace, 21% of under 40s have rejected a job offer partly because of an uninspiring or badly designed office. If companies want to continue attracting the best talent, they’ll need to make sure their space firmly rejects the greyscale cubicle nightmares of decades past.

Companies across the world are taking a unique approach to personalising their office spaces. The Office Breakout of the Year competition unveiled plenty of truly unique options. Winner SLG brands had two distinct spaces, including a no-shoe social area with bean bags, BOSE speakers and mood lights, an American-style diner and bespoke lighting and branding. Other finalists boasted everything from a village-style design, complete with swings, road markings and park benches to lunchtime gaming areas.

Even if you’re on a tight budget, there are lots of easy ways to make your breakout spaces more exciting including:

  • Replacing tables and chairs with beanbags or comfier, relaxed seating like armchairs
  • Adding more colour and interest through accessories, pictures, paint, or fabrics
  • Introducing features for people to use during downtime like a TV, pool table or games console
  • Designating comfortable spaces that are solely for social or relaxation purposes

Offices to rent at Realla

3. Increased smart digital technology

As more office workers move to remote or flexible working permanently, new ways to connect have emerged. But some office spaces are taking it a step further than tools like Zoom and Slack and incorporating digital features into the infrastructure of the workplace. Unilever’s North American HQ has been designed with smart features across the campus, including movement sensors to track how many people are using each space at one time.

Large office spaces that are used by lots of company have even begun to explore map apps to help tenants navigate the building. Hospitals such as the Jersey Shore University Medical Centre in New Jersey have already started trialling an app called MediNav to help staff find their way to unfamiliar departments. If you’re working in a co-working or shared office space, you might soon be able to find your way to a free meeting space or hot desk in a similar way.

More office spaces are also making use of technology to reduce their environmental impact. Automatic lighting that turns off when nobody is in the office, customisable lighting for each work area and more effective energy monitoring could all help companies go green.

4. A home from home

Increasing numbers of companies are looking to make their offices space feel more comfortable and less corporate. And considering the average employee will spend an astonishing 90,000 hours, or roughly a third of their life at work, it’s no surprise. Sofas, bookcases and lots more familiar features are becoming more popular in offices across the world.

Little touches like adding more greenery can boost productivity by 6% and increase creativity by an impressive 15%. Some of the best plant options are:

  • Mother-In-Law’s Tongue – absorbs pollutants in the air
  • Kentia Palm – best for a shady office with dry air
  • Rubber Plant – purifies the air
  • Ivy – reduces mould and needs very little maintenance

Founder of Parisian co-working space Patchwork Mikael Benfredj predicts we could even see the addition of childcare facilities, laundrettes and even hairdressers to allow us to get more life admin done during the working day and truly enjoy time at home.

5. Wellness-focused features

More offices are choosing to incorporate features that prioritise employee happiness and physical and mental wellbeing. There has been a significant rise in demand for facilities such as:

  • Meditation space
  • Yoga studios
  • Gyms
  • Coffee shops
  • Nap pods
  • Relaxation rooms

More essentially, though, office space providers are now thinking about how to accommodate basic health and wellness needs.

In the past, offices were built to accommodate the average man. Now, more buildings are being built inclusively, with features including adjustable desks and chairs to make them more accessible and comfortable for all. Considering women start businesses at five times the rate of men, and the number of disabled people in employment in the UK has risen by more than a million since 2013, it’s a welcome change.

The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) launched in 2014 after six years of research into factors that affect our wellbeing and health in commercial spaces. Its WELL Building Standard has been achieved by a number of new office buildings, including 22 Bishopsgate in the City of London, which has innovative features including an indoor climbing wall.

Find the ideal office space

Whether you’re looking for a fuss-free traditional space or a cutting edge office, you’ll find plenty of office, co-working and serviced office options at Realla.