Landlord buzzword: ‘Workplace 3.0’

Landlord buzzword: ‘Workplace 3.0’

Hybrid working is placing a greater need for attractive workplaces designed specifically for a new generation of professionals.

The realisation that hybrid is now the prevailing work trend, as opposed to working from home, provides an opportunity for landlords to deliver attractive, dedicated workspaces. 

For example, IWG recently opened France’s biggest Stop&Work space (at 6,000sqm) in the Paris-Saclay business cluster, one of the most competitive economic zones in Europe. The building features a business centre with incubation and acceleration programmes, plus a showroom, a Fab Lab for VR experimentation, a business hotel, café, event spaces, showrooms and gardens. Not only that, but it’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

After working entirely from home during the periods of lockdown, many people are reluctant to return to commuting to a central office every day because it undermines their work-life balance. 

At first, this might not sound like good news for landlords. But it simply means the market has shifted towards hybrid working, and landlords can capitalise on the ever-increasing demand for modern workspaces that are closer to home.

When it comes to employers providing those workspaces, the ‘hub-and-spoke’ approach is already proving popular with firms, and involves the use of a company HQ alongside a network of local offices – often delivered by flexible workspace providers such as IWG. 

Companies such as NTT and Cisco are among a variety of global enterprises that have signed deals with IWG in 2021, with such partnerships adding two million new customers with access to its network of 3,500 flexspaces so far this year alone. 

This strategy ensures the ongoing importance of the corporate office, which is great news for property owners, but it also means there is demand for a change in how they’re used.

Hubs for creativity and collaboration

The term ‘Workplace 3.0’ was coined by office design expert Morgan Lovell to describe its vision of the workplace in a post-pandemic world. Unlike its predecessors, this office has a purpose beyond serving the practical, job-centred needs of its residents. 

In a world of work where the corporate HQ is a destination for connecting and collaboration – not simply the space people use for day-to-day tasks – its layout, appearance and atmosphere need to change in line with its shift in function. 

Workplace 3.0 will be a creative space where people meet to share ideas, make decisions and craft solutions. In other words, it will be a place where employees do the things that – when they’re in disparate locations and working remotely – can be challenging.

Support for different working styles

Businesses are already reimagining their workplaces with the Workplace 3.0 in mind. For example, by removing half its desks, WeTransfer was able to create more meeting spaces, workshop rooms and recording studios at its company HQ.

In the hybrid model, the Workplace 3.0 will be a place people choose to come to. This ultimately leads to greater investment in making them attractive places to spend time in and that offer the right kind of environment for maximising productivity. 

To make sure everyone is catered to, the new-era office needs to be equipped for a variety of working styles – whether it’s soundproof booths for video calls or open coworking spaces for collaboration. Spotify, for instance, is overhauling its office space to help strike a better balance between discursive and silent work.

Meanwhile, in Paris, a new Spaces location at the Accor Arena at Bercy - due to open early 2022 - will feature three levels with desks for up to 200 ‘mobile’ and ‘residential’ workers. Inside will be a mix of lounges (for 20 to 60 people) and VIP boxes, which can be converted into private offices for up to four people, allowing people to work informally while enjoying a private space with a sofa, a television and a high table.

Building connection and culture

Many companies adopted hybrid working as we came out of lockdown. In a hybrid world, central offices have a crucial role to play in connecting employees with company culture. Surveys have highlighted the sense of disconnection from firms’ values and vision that workers experienced during prolonged periods of home working – so visits to the Workplace 3.0 must combat this.  

Strong cultures can be built, and kept healthy, by ensuring that the corporate HQ is a place where people want to be. This means creating offices that offer comfort and give people some sense of control over their surroundings, as well as stimulation and inspiration. Rooms dedicated to quiet, solo work, specialist phone booths and break rooms can all make a positive difference to employees. 

The Workplace 3.0 will remain “important in terms of corporate identity, learning and cohesion,” says IWG Founder and CEO Mark Dixon. “It will provide somewhere for people to congregate when needed, giving them a focus for the link between an employer and its workforce.” 

Flexible workspace is the fastest-growing sector of the global workplace market. Make the most of this exciting investment opportunity by partnering with IWG today.