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Commercial Real Estate Trends of Interest to Shared Space Managers

There’s a lot of change brewing in the commercial real estate (CRE) world. From how we work to what a new generation of workers want from their workplace, these shifts are impacting the design and offerings of office space. Some of these trends are maturing (like the open plan) and new ones are coming on the scene (like hackable workspaces). What’s exciting is that much of the new thinking is aligned with the values that are already important to those of us who own and operate social purpose real estate and easily builds on our efforts to develop robust communities while providing affordable, quality workspace.

CRE Trends

  • Continued Drive for CollaborationFrom serendipitous collisions to meeting rooms that foster ideation, collaboration – and the spaces designed to promote it – are still king.
  • Walking Back the Open Plan (a bit) There is a shift away from the wide open seating plan to one that has clearly identified uses (quite zones, social areas) and meets the needs of a range of users (wait! what? introverts work here?).
  • Hackable Space Dovetailing the rethink on the open plan comes the ‘hackable’ space. These dynamic spaces and fixtures will allow users to manipulate and adjust work areas to individual preferences or task needs. Think pillow fort for the office.
  • Smart WorkspacesMore technology is coming and most of it seems benevolent. From energy-saving technology to individually-controlled microclimates, our workplace will be more wired than ever.
  • Amenities and Workplace as a Service Everything from gyms and cafes to concierge-like offerings means there’s really no reason to go home (or at least that’s what employers what you to think!). Workplaces will be as much about user experience as getting stuff done.
  • Shared Purpose This is old hat for those of us in nonprofits, but itturns out Millennials are looking for organizations where they can share in the outcomes of the organization. They also want to see that shared purpose communicated in the physical space.

These trends, if they take hold, will have significant implications on how we use and design the facilities we own and manage.  While social purpose real estate’s core mission is to provide quality, affordable space, it is worthwhile to keep an eye on where the commercial market is headed to keep our spaces relevant. 

Want to dig in? Here are some articles worth checking out.

Rural Coworking is a Thing, and We Like How It Sounds
A good reminder that workplace trends aren’t just happening in urban places and probably coming to a town near you.

The Next Generation of Corporate Offices
This article touches on many of the trends above.

Changing Office Trends Hold Major Implications for Future Office Demand
Also touches on the trends above and other insights around where CRE is headed.

The Smartest Building in the World: Inside the connected future of architecture
Story and video on Deloitte’s new offices in Amsterdam, The Edge.

5 Things We Learned at IFMA’s World Workplace
“Many (if not most) FM professionals are now expected to be collaborators, innovators, and influencers involved in workplace decisions and programs that have traditionally been in the hands of other groups.”

About Our Blogger:

Saul Ettlin, Thoreau Center for Sustainability

Saul is the Collaboration + Space Manager for Tides overseeing Tides’ team who provide administrative, facilities, telecom services to 120 staff, subtenants and guests. He is also involved with the operation of the Thoreau Center for Sustainability, a 150,000 sq. ft. nonprofit center that is home to more than 60 organizations. Saul has over ten years of nonprofit management, capacity building and leadership development experience working in and with small political and environmental organizations.

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