ULI Tampa Bay News

Event Recap: Inside the Office Space Renaissance

By: Tyler Killette, Communications Specialist, Cushman & Wakefield

Inside the Office Space Renaissance

In a digitally charged, global business environment where technology makes it possible to work from just about anywhere, an unexpected new trend has emerged: Going to the office.

This concept was a focal point of office design expert Christine Congdon’s presentation at ULI Tampa Bay’s October StimULI Breakfast Briefing, “Inside the Office Renaissance.”

Workers enjoy the flexibility of being able to work remotely, but when it comes down it, most of us – yes, even the millennials – want to work in an office in some capacity. It’s the employers job to create an office environment that employees find more efficient, purposeful and stimulating than a local coffee shop, their living room, or a competitor’s workplace.

As Steelcase’s Tom Krajewski moderated, Congdon and local office specialists Lauren Coup of Cushman & Wakefield and Blair Wisenbaker of Gensler discussed how the modern office environment is changing on a wide-scale basis and right here in the Tampa Bay market.

The Digital Transformation

Technology changes the way we work, the skills we need to do our work, and even our behavior and culture in the workplace. As new technology is introduced, the workplace must be able to adapt in a way that enables and encourages workers.

According to research Congdon presented, 15 percent of jobs could be eliminated by 2030 due to emerging technologies and changes in the types of work organizations need. By the same measure, it is predicted that 60 percent of existing jobs will change in significant ways. As the way we work changes, the workplace must change with it.

What Employees Want

In June of 2018, 3.4 million people quit their jobs – twice as many as those who were laid off, according to Congdon’s presentation. Further, 64 percent of workers think it’s a good idea to change up jobs every few years, up from 22 percent four years ago.

As the talent pool tightens, recruiting and retaining top talent is more important than ever. To be competitive, the office environment an organization provides can make all the difference.

So, what do employees want in a workspace? Turns out, it’s not all about providing the coolest looking space. Workers want functionality and efficiency over a playground slide in the lobby, or a chic lounge space that is only there for aesthetics. A Steelcase study found that workers want office space that provides:

  • More views of nature/greenery
  • Better support for informal interactions
  • More access to private spaces for acoustic and visual privacy
  • Better ergonomics

When it comes to office amenities, workers look for quality onsite food and coffee options, outdoor spaces, fitness facilities, and convenient services such as dry cleaning and child care.

Creating Innovative Workplaces

A study by Gensler found a clear correlation between a workplace’s Innovation Rating and employee Work Performance Index (WPI). Data shows that workers with a WPI of at least 90 out of 100 worked in an office with an average Innovation Rating of 4.4, on a scale of 1 to 5. By comparison, workers with a WPI score of 50 or less worked in an office with an average Innovation Rating of 2.6.

According to Wisenbaker, innovative organizations provide work spaces that are designed to be more effective and purposeful while providing greater access to amenities and more options for both privacy and collaboration.

The Changing Tampa Office Market

The effects of the office renaissance can be felt right here in the Tampa Bay market. According to Coup, stuffy, closed-in offices are growing scarcer in Tampa’s office buildings, while boardrooms are being replaced with glass panels, natural light, and creative branding design elements.

Demand for office space in Tampa is extremely strong, both in the urban core and in areas considered “surban,” which fall somewhere between urban and suburban, but offer the look and feel of urban with great walkability and access to amenities. Developers will break ground on new office developments in both of these market types in the coming year, many of them on a speculative basis, which speaks to the strong demand.

Water Street Tampa, a 50-acre mixed-use undertaking by Strategic Property Partners, will add 2 million square feet of office space to Tampa’s urban core, while Midtown Tampa, a $500 million mixed-use development by Bromley Companies, will add 750,000 square feet of office space at North Dale Mabry and Interstate 275. Additionally, the TPA Group and SoHo Capital are building a 150,000-square-foot office building at The Heights, just north of downtown, which has already attracted a prominent new-to-market-tenant.

As new buildings come on line in Tampa, the real estate and development community will be keeping a close eye on which innovative workplace design elements prove most successful in attracting quality tenants and top talent.

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Authored By:

Tyler Killette, Cushman Wakefield

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