All companies adopt different working practices that suit their business model and employees best. In recent years however, we’ve seen many companies move away from traditional office working practices and more towards a new agile working programme. In addition to this, we’ve seen a shift in transport methods and environmental views. To accommodate all these factors, has there been a shift in priorities when looking for new premises, or, are companies still looking for the same office characteristics?
When looking at the everyday practicalities of a building and its amenities, it’s hard to ignore the fact that it’s now considered a day-to-day essential, rather than the luxury it was 10 years ago, for landlords to provide communal shower facilities, bikes storage and lockers. If not available on the common parts, tenants will no doubt want the ability to install within their own demise. Another change has also been the demand for high speed internet connections, most companies now expect a super-fast connection within the building, or again, at least the ability to install one. Modern companies also have higher expectations in terms of communal areas and co-working space, they like to offer their employee’s the ability to pick up their laptop and take their work and/or meetings to a different environment, in the same building. We’ve seen this work well in some new London developments where the Landlord has built in communal roof terraces and/or co-working space which provides all tenants with exactly this facility.
All factors can be well demonstrated in some of the new schemes built by developers that are in tune with the market. For example, Land Securities, a landlord which has lead the way in both the development and promotion of communal facilities and areas for their tenants to enjoy. They now even offer free monthly bike servicing, in some of their new office developments, let alone communal showers and bike storage that would rival any top London gym. This can act as a big pull factor for potential new tenants.
Demand for local shops and services tends to now lean more towards independent coffee shops and specialist gyms which now have a higher value to occupiers, rather than your normal every day high street retailers. Which such a diverse range of leisure and retail providers across central London, most occupiers want to locate themselves within an area which is at the forefront of this movement. Victoria is a great example of this, where the retail and leisure demographic is now more akin to Covent Garden rather than the Victoria of old.
And finally, the biggest question; location. There’s no doubt, when looking at the London market, tenants are far more footloose than they’ve been historically, certain industries no longer feel like they are married to certain areas. This doesn’t mean you can’t escape the ‘how many minutes’ walk from the managing directors house’ question but, it does mean that tenants are much more open to considering London villages that they may never have dreamed about being in 10 years ago. On top of that, it also means they are now more in tune with what’s on offer elsewhere so, landlords are perhaps now more than ever before, much more in tune with what companies want from their office.
In conclusion tenant’s priorities have changed over the last 10 years. Arguably this has improved both working environments within buildings and micro communities, plus the quality of new office developments and the environment!