Briefing | Leading Commercial Property figures reflect upon how workspaces are changing in an era of evolving tenant demand (Part 2)

‘About 20 years ago, a close friend of mine, a chief executive of one of the bigger UK public property companies appeared at his annual shareholder AGM in a black polo neck sweater, the “dress down“ Fridays trend imported from the US was just starting to take hold, a bold statement from the CEO of a public company at his AGM. Was this a sign of a new informality which was even infiltrating the hitherto impenetrable UK public companies? Maybe, but who would have guessed this informality would 10 years later enshrine even their physical working environments. We did, and we started planning for this almost the moment Lehman’s doors were shut firm.

Who would have thought it? That the days of dressing up for work in many industries would soon be long gone. And, in many companies, that a conscious effort and even encouragement to dress down would be a requirement – how very non-British, no wonder Tie Rack is no more.

It is no surprise then, that this informality has spread and touched everything physical in the workplace. There is something both psychological and cultural that has taken hold: Work is serious, business is serious, the work place is a serious place, making money is a serious business – but if making money is the sole purpose of a business, then that alone will filter a culture. So today’s conscious businesses need to be more than that.

So what we have today are much more culturally aware businesses. We have founders, as opposed to owners, investors as opposed to shareholders, and businesses that focus on creating value as well and in some instances rather than profits, and that is really driving the workplace.

Businesses have quickly realised that their culture is an important and valuable asset. A businesses’ values, style, ethos, objectives and aims all culminate in what is now known as Brand. They want their Brand to be understood by everyone: their staff, their customer, their market. Their currency is the Brand itself.

The Brand is not simply a mark or a logo, albeit a lot can be read into a single mark or cleverly designed word. It is moreover a collection of things that go together to make that mark, and crucially to some businesses; the actual physical manifestation of that brand: the orientation, design, and inventory of their work place.

Here we come to another transitioning word about the work place: ‘Inventory’. Inventory no longer signifies merely a post room, tea station, printer, fax and copier, and a bunch of desks! On the contrary, the inventory of today might comprise a coffee bar and lounge, gym, yoga area, neighbourhoods, screening and media rooms and a range of diverse meeting and working spaces. No longer are you expected to sit at your desk for 8 hours, rather you are encouraged to work how and where it suits you, to walk around and collide, co-join and collaborate and drink lots of coffee …

So what’s the answer to those in business providing workspace buildings? Leave them empty! Create shells , make a wow impact like our Herbal House London, XYZ Manchester, and Leeds Dock . Create a platform to work with the businesses who will be occupying the creations , todays savvy corporates will want their Brand represented in every corner of their space, and, significantly they will want to own a different brand story, and you can contribute to that .’

Michael Ingall, CEO of Allied London

– – – – –

At Trilogy we are constantly adapting to the changing needs and workstyles of our occupiers. We see the disruptive impact of the internet, social media and AI on the property industry as an opportunity, where our competitive edge comes from our ability to think not just about the convenience and affordability of a location, but in creating an experience that engages with the lifestyle choices of the talent our occupiers aim to attract.

Trilogy’s portfolio covers developments as different from one another as the Great Northern Warehouse in Manchester and Republic in East London, but each has a distinctive character built upon three core principals:

Create places that attract the talent of the creative, digital and knowledge economies – with a focus on wellness, contemporary style and environmental responsibility.

Create vibrancy and footfall beyond the 9-5 day through mixed use “live, work & play” refurbishments – a mix of workspace, residences and hotels, shops, cafes, bars and gyms defines the tone and appeal of a campus.

Place “user experience” at the centre of our business – our emphasis on quality public realm, events and participation creates a sense of community and activity. The days when our on-site management team could be limited to simply a building manager, a security guard and a receptionist are gone.

Robert Wolstenholme, CEO of Trilogy

Leave a Reply