Chief Executive, The British Council for Offices
Future offices will not only support a creative and productive work culture and employee wellbeing but also play a vital part in decarbonising our cities.
Our relationship with the office is evolving. Changing working patterns, employee expectations and business needs since the pandemic have led occupiers, building owners and designers to rethink fundamentally what the office of the future could look like.
Future offices enable resilience and inspiration
The role of offices is shifting towards something more meaningful and intentional — a place where connection, community, collaboration and learning are concentrated; a workplace to which people chooseto commute and which brings out the best in them and their colleagues.
As office work becomes more dispersed, and hybrid working the norm, offices are becoming hubs. They are focused on inspiration, creativity and innovation — all elements vital to our future prosperity. With the role of the office now rightly centred around the workplace experience and social impact, the relationship between building owner and occupier has shifted significantly.
Employers face competition for talent and the need to support the wellbeing of their employees, while simultaneously implementing broader environmental, social and governance (ESG) targets, which are increasingly the key drivers on decisions affecting real estate investment.
The role of offices is shifting towards
something more meaningful and intentional.
Healthier offices, happier people
It is the British Council for Offices’ mission to research, develop and communicate best practices in all aspects of the office sector. Accepting the challenges facing the office sector post-pandemic and the accelerated need to respond to climate change, we released an early update to our flagship publication the ‘Guide to Specification’ in 2023.
The guidance is considered the ‘design bible’ for high-quality offices and advises designers on how to create healthier offices that support changing working patterns while reducing carbon emissions. New this year are more generous space standards and greater design flexibility. The 2023 update will promote the decarbonisation of the office sector and enact change to help the industry deliver on the UK’s net zero by 2050 target.
As we continue to rethink office space, we need to focus on hospitality and human-centric design. This must be aligned with frictionless technology interfaces to help building owners and occupiers monitor the use, carbon performance and employee experience.
If we create high-quality offices focused on hospitality, a human-centric approach and sustainability, the UK will be well-equipped to adapt to the ever-changing working environment and drive economic growth and productivity.