7 tips to make your coworking space more profitable

Everyone should earn a profit from their work and co-working operators are no exception. This is easier said than done, of course.

Profitable business ideas are not easy to come by. The good news is, if you want to open a profitable coworking space, or increase your profit, someone has already laid the groundwork for you. That someone is Brad Neuberg, the inventor of coworking as we know it. But back to profits.

How do you break into the coworking scene? The coworking business, still burgeoning, is not limited to WeWork, far from it. So how do you become a fierce competitor?

Here is an idea or two. Or seven.

1. Embrace mixed-use spaces

This is true for most current real-estate developments. "Mixed-use" is the magic word that opens all doors, it is the "please, thank you" of commercial real estate.

When it comes to coworking, your office is probably busiest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If your building has some extra unused space, you are missing out on countless sales opportunities.

Think about optimising your space, consider mutually beneficial establishments like coffee shops and the ever so popular tap room for after-hours.

If the space allows for it, you can, and probably should go even further. Breakfast bar, rooftop terrace, lounge, fitness club, dry cleaners, library and, if you own a palace, why don't you integrate some accommodation tailored for professionals?

Neue House coworking space at Madison Square

2. Cater to niche sectors

While it may be tempting to appeal to a broader audience, often the secret is to start small, expand later. Focusing on a niche market will create a sense of community.

Knowing your target customers will help you make this decision. Will you target women only like Soleilles Cowork in Paris? Will you cater to tech professionals only?

It is also helpful to remember that different sectors have different requirements. Writers work in silence (or to the soothing sound of classical music) while PR professionals cling to their phones for dear life. How will you cater to both without falling between two stools?

But what about cross-pollination, you may ask? And inter-disciplinary networking? Perhaps it is best for smaller businesses to start out focused and widen the lens at a later stage.

3. Don't neglect privacy

In a recent documentary film about the past, present, and future of the office, R/GA's Chief Creative Officer Nick Law describes the importance of and need for both individual and collaborative spaces as follows: "I think this is true of every creative pursuit: there are these monkish moments where solitude is the only way you're going to get somewhere. And then there are these moments of connection that take all of these jigsaw pieces and put them all together into a bigger shape."

If your coworking space understands this fine balance, it is bound to attract more customers.

fuxing plaza coworking office in Soho, China
Soho 3Q, photo by Eterna S, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

4. Target a bigger membership for a higher profit

According to DeskMag's Second Global Coworking Survey, "seventy percent of all privately operated coworking spaces that serve 50 or more members run a profit." This is a critical point to understand. Even though smaller spaces cost you less to run, they don't make it easy to make direct profit from.

That said, let's not forget that smaller spaces are usually new on the market. They have yet to grow and increase their membership but, as it is with many things life, start small but aim big.

5. Think outside the box

Alternative, pop-up coworking offices reclaiming unused spaces during the day are becoming more and more of a thing.

Spacious in the United States and Popices in Amsterdam offer workers the possibility to work in restaurants that are closed during the day, galleries, hotels and even boats!

Do you know of another business that could profit from opening its doors to nomad workers thirsty for a collaborative space? If so, it may be worth brainstorming on the subject.

zonaspace coworking offic
Zonaspace coworking in Saint Petersburg. Photo by коворкинг-пространство Зона действия , via Wikimedia Commons

6. Survey the international market

Five years after the Arab Spring, Tunisia is still in the throes of unemployment but despite a rate of 15.3, young Tunisian entrepreneurs want to encourage self-employment by creating affordable, professional clubs. Founded by Akthem Naili, Creative Coworking Space is aimed at architects, photographers and designers but it is not the only one. Between 2013 and 2016, over five co-working spaces have popped up in Tunis.

Similarly, coworking is booming in Lisbon where, over the last five years, 40 Portugal-based startups have raised over $166 million in funding. For the first time, the Portuguese capital was also included in WIRED’s list of hottest start-up destinations for 2016.

London is not the only coworking destination in Europe. Cities like Lisbon, Berlin Amsterdam, Athens, Brussels and many more are attracting an increasing number of startups and entrepreneurs. So if your coworking space is thriving in London (or else), it might be worth expanding to other burgeoning cities.

Todos Hub coworking space

7. Be patient

Rome wasn't built in a day. The longer your coworking space is in operation, the better it will run. This is a fact and you will have to brace yourself with patience, embrace innovation, be proactive and become the king of networking. 

And there you have it. Seven tips on how to grow your co-working business. Can you think of any more? Pick a platform and reach out to us on social media. 

Co-living for boomers – or why the senior cohousing market is bound to boom

If co-living appeals to Generation Y, why wouldn't it appeal to senior citizens who grant just as much importance to a sociable lifestyle as millennials do?

The success of co-living is built on gradients of publicness. From private, through semi-private and semi-public, all the way to public, co-living complexes strike a balance between individual and communal spaces.

It comes as no surprise that this community-driven concept appeals to millennials who seek a more sociable lifestyle. But co-living complexes like WeLive or The Collective aren't just for Generation Y –  they could also be fit for the baby boomers, according to architect and Architizer co-founder Matthias Hollwich.

I believe we have to start a whole new attitude to how we treat society in relationship to ageing

The World Health Organisation estimates that by 2050 and for the first time in history, the number of people aged 65 and over will outnumber children aged five and under. So why are we not catering to a generation with interests, much like those of millennials, that revolve around a genuine sense of community, experiences and safety?

Communal dining at WeLive New Yok
WeLive communal dining in New York. Photo by Lauren Kallen/WeWork

Cohousing for older people is now a well-established concept in its countries of origin, i.e. Denmark and The Netherlands, where the seemingly contradictory ‘Living together on one’s own’ maxim of the Dutch National Association of Housing Communities for Elderly People (LVGO) seems to capture the essence of co-living perfectly.

Usually purpose-built, cohousing complexes consist of private homes with shared facilities and according to the UK Cohousing Network, there are 200 senior cohousing schemes in the Netherlands alone.

Coliving residence for the elderly
BOOM Costa del Sol: retirement community featuring 115 boutique homes

The cohousing phenomenon is now spreading across the rest of Europe, with developments such as BOOM Costa del Sol sitting on a dramatic hillside 45km outside of Malaga, Spain.

BOOM is a retirement community that features 72 homes, 24 lofts, and 38 apartments, each designed by a different world renowned architect. The pedestrian-friendly masterplan is the brainchild of BOOM design coordinator Matthias Hollwich of HWKN and was co-developed by Seram Estates, S.L.

Cohousing community in the UK
UK's first over 50s co-living complex in High Barnet, North London

The first one to successfully import the 'cohousing for the elderly' model to the UK is Pollard Thomas Edwards who recently completed the UK's first over 50s coliving development. Older Women's Co-Housing (OWCH) is a women-only complex that offers its residents the chance to live independently while still living in a shared community.

The scheme is mostly owner-occupied although one third consists of social housing. The women share a common house with a meeting room, kitchen and dining areas, and every flat has access to the shared garden and craft shed, to be maintained by residents themselves.

WeLive in New York
Apartment in WeLive, 110 Wall Street, New York

The growing number of senior cohousing developments is nothing but proof that the older generation displays the same youthful enthusiasm for community that millennials do.

Boomers do not want to grow old in the same ageing institutions their parents did. They want innovation and perhaps it is time developers tapped into the senior cohousing market, bound to boom in the near future.

Coloured concrete in public spaces: a tale of warmth and character

Coloured concrete exudes warmth and character, both essential qualities to consider when designing public spaces.

 

Dick-bruna-house-utrecht
Dick Bruna House, Utrecht, The Netherlands. Photo by Douglas Johnston

Concrete doesn't always imply gray and cold. It can in fact take on a wide range of chromatic, textural and emotional complexions that elevate the aesthetic qualities of a building. From pastel hues to vibrant tones, we take a look at several public buildings that have used coloured concrete to brighten up the space.

Coloured concrete offers the same durable characteristics associated with normal concrete but with the added vibrancy and character of colour. It is a great way to make a statement, whether it be inside or out, and can be used to highlight the monolithic character of a building or draw attention to a striking office reception.

From accent walls to floor treatment, dyed concrete is sure to make a great impression. But how exactly does it work?

internationa-centre-accommodation-photo-fernando-guerra.jpg
International accommodation centre for the oceanological observatory in Banyuls-sur-Mer, France. By Atelier Fernandez & Serres 

Perhaps the most subtle way to colour concrete is to blend various aggregates into it - natural stones like bazalt or lava, glass, broken brick or slag can all be used as aggregates.

Another way to dye concrete is through glazing. Coloured glazing lends concrete a transparent hue and, depending on the level of dilution, colours can become particularly intense. Unlike aggregates, the glaze remains on the surface layer and even though it has to be renewed after some time, it still acts as a protective barrier from the elements.

If you want colour throughout the full depth of the concrete, not just on the surface, you need to add a pigment. The most common hues, as conveyed in our selection, are red and ochre tones, but violet, brown, black and green are all possible, albeit more expensive due to the nature of the pigments needed.

nursery_school_treviso-inside-out-colours.jpg
Covolo di Pederobba Nursery School Building, Treviso, Italy. By C+S ASSOCIATI

Architects use coloured concrete to express metaphorical concepts or convey certain emotions through colour and rich textures. This is why we think dyed concrete would also be a great strategic tool in commercial real estate where first impressions need to be curated.

Take a look at our selection and imagine... Where in your office could you use coloured concrete? What part of your office reception could be brought to life with colour? Let us know on Twitter.

coloured-concrete-yellow-accent-S-M.A.O-Picon-wine-cellars-Ciudad-Real
Wine-cellars in Picon, Ciudad Real. By S-M.A.O

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MSCP — Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London. By BOB Design

coloured-concrete-lintel-bar-scotland
Coloured concrete lintel bar in Nando’s Sauchiehall Street, Scotland. By STAC Architecture

scroll-icecream-counter-one-design-office-coloured-concrete-design.jpg
Pigmented concrete bar for Scroll Ice Cream's flagship store in Melbourne shopping centre. By One Design Office and Studio Twocan

coloured-concrete-brazil-architects-photo-nelson-kon.jpg

coloured-concrete-bold-orange.jpg
Image Credit: Robert Orchardson, Endless façade, installation views, Courtesy of Contemporary Art Gallery. Photo: Scott Massey

10-Cal-Tower-The-Labyrinth -Photographer-Wison-Tungthunya .jpg
10 Cal Tower - The Labyrinth, a red concrete public installation in Bangasen, Thailand. By Supermachine studio. Photo by Wison Tungthunya

The world’s happiest offices: 5 secrets for a cool office

An office is so much more than four walls and an array of desks – for many of us, it is a second home.

In honour of International Day of Happiness, we take a look at the world's happiest offices and ask ourselves – what makes a cool office? Does location matter? Is office furniture as important as the space it inhabits?  

Although it can be argued that the concept of "cool" can be very subjective, there remain several features you can incorporate into your office to make it a fun place to work in. So where do you start?

1. Vibrant colours

Bright colours have always been synonymous with fun but the key to a cool office is, of course, balance. Opt for accent walls or colourful furniture to highlight a certain area, aspect or piece of furniture of your office. From your office reception, through a metal staircase, to design furniture, a pop of colour can go a long way.

Capital One Bank office in San Francisco, by Studio O+A
colour-office-design
Colourful café space at advertising agency 22squared in Tampa, Florida. By ASD|SKY 
Prezi office with a breakout space
Prezi's office in San Francisco features a fun breakout area with stadium-like seating. By Gensler

2. Green walls

living wall inside Facebook's Tel Aviv office
Facebook offices in Tel Aviv, by Setter Architects

Being around nature is soothing. Working in an office, not always. That's why more and more offices are bringing the outside in by incorporating living walls in your office.  Businesses who embrace vertical gardens in common areas such as office receptions and breakout areas are likely to increase productivity and wellbeing. 

etsy office green wall
Etsy offices in Brooklyn, New York boasts green walls and colourful art. By Gensler. Credit: Garrett Rowland
Breakout space inside Google Budapest office
Google offices in Budapest, by Graphasel Design Studio. Photography: Attila Balázs

3. Fun furniture

What better way to convey happiness than to opt for versatile furniture that is also functional and ergonomic? Office furniture is no longer solely focused on desks and swivelling chairs – on the contrary. It is now all about innovative, modular furniture items that embrace the idea of fun and blend it with the practical.

fun furniture for laptop workers
Airbnb's office in Portland, Oregon features custom-made furniture built for laptop users. By Bora Architects. Photography: Jeremy Bittermann
cool office storage space for stools
Design slot wall for storing stools in Ekimetrics office breakout area, Paris. By Vincent & Gloria Architects
cool pods inside the Google office in Sydney
Relaxing pods in Google's office in Sydney, by Futurespace

4. (Not so) corporate art

Art in the workplace often speaks to the company's values and personality. As such, the rule is simple: if you want to be perceived as a cool, young and vibrant company, start by introducing some fun art in your office. Office murals, art installations and even a lego wall can make the difference between a dull office and one that gives off positive vibes.

office mural inside WeWork Soho
Hustle Mural by Jeremiah Britton, inside WeWork Soho's office
cool office with decorative helmets
Inside Grupo CP offices in Mexico. By Space Arquitetura

5. Games

 Work hard, play harder. The presence of a game room is increasingly becoming necessary if an office is to be qualified as cool. A pool table, a foosball table, a swing and a pouffe or two wouldn't go amiss. More than breakout areas that are more synonymous of relaxed shared workspaces and impromptu meetings, game rooms are there to boost productivity by allowing for a little moment of fun-filled reprieve. If that doesn't make a happy office, then what does?

game room at TripAdvisor's office
TripAdvisor headquarters, by Baker Design Group. Photography: Robert Benson
Game room inside Prezi San Francisco office
Game room inside Prezi's office, San Francisco. By Gensler 
Cool office with a swing in Budapest
Fun swing inside Google Budapest' s office. By Graphasel Design Studio

7 reasons why you should start a corporate art collection

There is a reason why larger businesses have a corporate art collection. From financial benefits to marketing opportunities, art in the workplace can go a long way. 

Corporate art collections are hardly a new concept. It all started with banker and philanthropist David Rockefeller, the father of modern corporate art collecting. In the late 1950s, Rockefeller decided that longtime family-associated Chase Manhattan Bank should start acquiring art. 

Rockefeller began a trend where art transcended decoration and became a means of communication with the public. Today, the JPMorgan Chase Art collection is one of the oldest and largest corporate art collections in the world.

JP Morgan corporate art collection
J.P Morgan Chase Art Collection. Credit: Paris Photo

The list of financial institutions with an impressive corporate art collection also includes Deutsche Bank, UBS and Bank of America.

Why are such industry giants investing in corporate art? The reasons are manifold.

1. Investment in culture

Businesses may get involved in an art program by sponsoring or commissioning art. Companies can also organise art events to engage with new target audiences and get closer to customers and the community in general.

2. Strong company image

Art increases the corporate image among the public as well as its stakeholders. It conveys vision and drive. Having art, particularly modern art, implies a forward-thinking corporation with a positive attitude.

Duchy of Lancaster corporate art collection
Duchy of Lancaster, corporate art collection. Credit: Workplace Art

3. Boosting sales

 Companies that have art in the workplace are perceived as influential, sophisticated and trustworthy. To put it differently, a corporate art collection is bound to impress customers, which in turn, will lead to an increase in sales.

4. Business competitive advantage

Business companies, especially financial institutions like Deutsche Bank, can put their art knowledge to good use and offer art 'buy and sell' consultancy services to their customers.

microsoft art collection
Katz Frey, Microsoft Art Collection. Credit: Michael Klein Arts

5. Corporate hospitality

Art in the workplace lightens the mood. It creates a nice work environment, peppered with personality and, if the genre suits the business, humour.

6. Supporting the art community

By investing in art, whether it be local or international, companies are openly supporting the community. Businesses with limited budgets can start with the works of younger, less-established artists. Conversely, bigger companies can and should start big, then choose newer artists whose work points to the future.

Wall street company with corporate art collection
Sciame office, 14 Wall Street. Corporate art collection featuring artist Derek Fordjour. Photo via Real Art Muse

7. Enhanced productivity

Happier employees tend to be more productive and an increase in productivity can soon lead to an increase in profits. Having art in the workplace increases creativity and efficiency, making for an enhanced work environment.

According to a 2013 research by the British Council for Offices, 61% of workers agree that artwork inspires them to think and work more creatively.

Opening photo: Deutsche Bank, "Art Works"

How can beacons help you manage a smarter office?

 

Improved experiences and innovative navigation systems – the smarter office is underway thanks to tiny devices called beacons.

This post is the first of a three-part series on workplace innovations.

Beacons have already percolated into high-traffic spaces like airports, museums, stadiums and even retail stores. In recent years, this Bluetooth smart technology has also expanded to the workplace with many companies jumping on the bandwagon.

What are beacons?

Beacons are small, low-cost, low-powered devices that can be used to deliver location-aware, context-aware messages. They can be likened to small computers which broadcast radio signal. Those signal are, in turn, picked up and interpreted by your phone. Personalized content is then displayed as a notification on your screen. Nearby screens can also be used to display relevant information.

There are several major beacon hardware on the market: Estimote, Gimbal, Gelo, Glimworm, BlueSense, and Kontakt. Among these, Estimote is one of the most well-known manufacturers.

location beacons for a smart office

How can beacons help you manage a smarter office?

Navigation

Larger office spaces are trickier to navigate and beacons can remedy to that by guiding new guests or prospects to a particular room, thus cutting a lot of wasted time.

Footfall

Beacons can help identify high and low-traffic areas in your office. In large offices, in particular, gathering location data of all employees can help you determine which areas are more used than others. This information can be shared with, say, the lighting department to help you run a greener office.

proximity beacons estimote

Office layout

Based on the location data of employees, you could design a smarter office, tweak desk layouts based on where staff actually moves around at work.

Office management

Beacons can facilitate booking conference rooms in busy offices. For this application, beacons must be installed at the entrance of every conference room and employees need to install an app on their phones. Based on information from the beacons, employees can check if the room is free, and book accordingly, or, if already occupied, find out when the meeting will be over.

estimote beacon

Check out the next post on Workplace Innovations, featuring high-tech Ketra lighting.

Psychology of colour – what’s the best colour scheme for your office?

Colours are powerful marketing tools, they affect mood, and boost productivity. But which colour scheme is right for you and how do you choose? 

Each colour affects us differently. Red affects the body, blue stimulates the mind, yellow influences emotions and self-confidence, and green ties it all together by nurturing a balance between mind, body and emotions.

Intensity matters too. Bolder, brighter colours will stimulate, while colour with low saturation will soothe.

So which colour scheme should you go for? What is the perfect shade for corporate or creative businesses? Well, don't hate us, but... it depends.

Productive blue

meeting area with blue colour scheme
Russian social media network V Kontakte’s St. Petersburg Office, by Finnish design firm Gullstén-Inkinen

Widely recognised as the colour of productivity, blue helps employees focus on the task at hand. Most often used in offices where mind work prevails, blue is an excellent base to begin with, as long as you spice it up with warmer, accent tones in strategic places.

Positive yellow

open-plan office with yellow accents
Marketing agencies EMO and The Real Adventure's shared office space in Bristol. By The Interiors Group

Yellow is the most optimistic colour. It helps stimulate creativity and can often be found in a designer's office. Because of its bright tones, however, it tends to strain the eyes and cause fatigue and frustration if used throughout your office. For this reason, it is preferable to use yellow and orange as accent colours on walls.

Stimulating red

office reception area with red feature wall
Digital agency Station Four's office reception in Jacksonville, Florida. 

If you are in the building industry, or any industry that involves physical activities, red is your colour because it stimulates physical strength. Incidentally, red is also known to encourages appetite so why not integrate it in the breakout and kitchen area of your office?

Just like yellow tones, red is best used with moderation because it can over-stimulate employees, increase brain wave activities and heart rate, as suggested in a study by The University of Texas.

Calming green

workspace with green wall
Skyscanner's Budapest office, by Hungarian design studio Madilancos Studio

Where other colour associations can often be dependent on personal experiences, cultural differences, upbringing, etc., green as a synonym of nature seems to result in unanimity.

According to a study by The University of British Columbia, blues and greens have a soothing effect that helps reduce eye strain for employees who use computers. Green is therefore great for those who work long hours and, if you're feeling forward-thinking and adventurous, you can also take it one step further by going green and installing living walls in the workplace.

Neutral colours

Book publisher CPI Books' office in Melksham, by Interaction

Whites, greys and blacks can act as buffers to help tone down or liven up certain areas of your workplace. As usual, the key is balance. Embrace those contrasts and use accent walls to highlight a semi-private meeting area or transition from the reception area to the desk area.

As it turns out, the perfect colour scheme is a combination of colours.

Opening image: Masquespacio's Valencia office, Spain. Photography by Bruno Almela via Masquespacio

How does an office fit out affect workplace performance?

What is the secret to good office design? What are the benefits of a commercial office fit out and how does it affect workplace performance?

Fitting out a new office might be the biggest, most expensive project your company will take on so it is important to be prepared and know your strategy and end goal. From function to aesthetics, your new office should reflect your values and take the business forward, focusing on your future needs without neglecting the current ones.

 

Ansarada Sydney offices by Those Architects and End Of Work. Photography: Brett Boardman 

Office fit outs are no easy task, that is why we have created a detailed overview to help you plan and prepare for the big change.

Start with the 'why' behind your office fit out

Do your research early on; what works in your space and what doesn't? What are the biggest obstacles and why are they hindering your growth? How will your business profit from a complete refurbishment?

The more questions you can answer, the more effective your fit out will be. Here are some to get you started:

  • Why the need for refurbishment? Are you looking to expand or are you making concessions?
  • What kind of fit out do you need? Are you refurbishing a new space or your existing office? Are you carrying out a CAT B fit out or going back to basics with a CAT A and CAT B installation?
  • How is your business going to change in the next few years?
  • Are you looking to boost morale and office performance?
  • Is your office outdated and no longer reflects your business?
  • Do you want to boost your environmental rating and promote sustainability to employees, clients and prospects?

 Key benefits of a good office fit out

Design must reflect the practical and aesthetic in business but above all... good design must primarily serve people

Thomas J. Watson
Health sciences company DSM offices by  Studio Niels and BroekBakema architects.

IBM founder Thomas J. Watson knew what he was talking about and Gensler proved it by surveying a panel-based sample of 1,200 UK office workers at all job levels across 11 industries.

Their UK workplace Survey 2016 results reported that over 8 million UK employees are negatively affected by poorly designed open-plan spaces. The key reason behind this dissatisfaction appeared to be the lack of alternative settings and more enclosed spaces for both individual and group work.

Another factor worth noting is that, despite being in a period of economic recovery, the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that UK GDP per worker is lower than all other G7 nations barring Japan, thus making it critical for offices to perform at maximum effectiveness.

How can an office fit out help you perform best? What are some benefits you can expect?

Keynsham Civic Centre, by AHR

1. Morale and productivity

Good design affects mood, productivity and wellbeing. A well-thought-out office, complete with a diverse range of working spaces and break-out areas, is bound to increase performance. Simply put, good design makes people happier, thus more productive.

2. Business performance and growth

Design and emotions go hand in hand. A poorly designed office space will likely speak to a poorly-run business, while an office fit out will help retain top employees and attract new prospects.

3. Brand identity and culture

Your office should reflect your motto, values, culture and convey the personality of the brand. It should also be an advertising tool, an extension of your marketing strategy – in other words, a clever physical representation of your website.

Google offices in Milan, by AMA - Albera Monti & Associati

4. Space optimisation

Recent mergers or acquisitions, just like downsizing, often require space reorganisation. An office refurbishment will allow you to upgrade or introduce new facilities and create a balanced working environment.

Your office layout should take into consideration the different departments and their respective needs. The sales department needs privacy (and soundproofed walls for those phone calls) while the creative department may require more collaborative spaces to brainstorm ideas.

5. New or upgraded facilities

Are your conference rooms looking dated? Is your office lacking a breakout space where your workers can relax and exchange ideas in a more informal environment? What about your IT? And how would you rate the quality of your office lighting? Are you getting enough natural light?

We're counting at least five ways you can profit from an office refurbishment and of course, with great benefits comes great responsibility. So how do you tackle a big office fit out?

Photo by Crew on Unsplash

Your office fit out checklist: things to consider

 1. First impressions are key

First impressions are the most lasting, especially if you are a client-facing business. A good office fit out can ensure that your office sells your business as much as your staff do. Common areas are particularly influential and a great way to make a statement while also providing comfort. Some ideas:

  • An engaging reception with striking reception desk and comfortable waiting areas.
  • Architectural and design features like multipurpose staircases, living walls, design lighting, etc.
  • Coffee shop and/or communal spaces open to the public.
  • Atriums, public thoroughfares and amenities that encourage people to walk through your workplace (and notice it).
  • Artwork, commissioned office murals by local artists, sculptural lighting, etc
Trelleborg office reception, Bangalore, by Zyeta Studios

2. Budget counts

Knowing how much you can spend will save you many a headache and hunting for quotes is that much easier when you are in control of your finances. Here are a few factors to consider when calculating your budget:

  • Costs associated with a potential relocation.
  • Duration and costs of equipment and furnishings storage.
  • The fit out itself (including a brief, technical plans, delivery of materials, building assessment and project management)
  • New furniture and equipment.
  • IT and telecommunications infrastructure.

3. Design should be in sync with your brand identity

Everything in your office, from inviting common areas to pristine washrooms, should reflect your company's values. Consider glass manifestation, colour schemes, etc. to highlight brand identity.

Decca Records Project offices by Kim Walter

4. Office trends trend for a reason

What are the latest offices trends? Don't follow the masses blindly but, by all means, draw inspiration from what works and what doesn't, what your target audience is looking for and how you can best provide for it.

Can standing desks or desks on wheels encourage flexibility and productivity? Are natural materials gaining in popularity? Are multipurpose spaces key to efficient offices?

5. Cloud technologies offer flexibility

An increase in cloud-based technologies allows companies to get rid of outdated infrastructure and make room for, say a second conference room. Cloud computing also offers more flexibility as enables some staff to work from home, thus contributing to the overall office performance.

How would cloud-based technologies affect the size or your server or communications room? Could they allow for better document control and contribute to the image of a forward-looking business?

An office fit out should cater to these electronic needs with frequent, well-located powerpoints.

IT consultancy Thoughtworks offices in Soho, London by Morgan Lovell

6. Efficient system designs make life easier

Depending on your future office needs, basic systems like lighting and temperature control can be made smarter and more efficient. To consider:

  • Lighting: From pendant lights to desk lamps and sconces, you're spoilt for choice, but which lighting scheme is best for you? Consider bespoke lighting to set yourself apart.
  • Windows and louvres: Should they be operated manually or remotely?
  • Air conditioners: How will they be controlled and what is the most efficient schedule? Where will they be placed for optimised temperature?
  • Electrical sockets: Are there enough and are they placed according to your staff's needs?
  • Thermostats: Who controls the temperature and from where?

7. Going green saves more than trees

From going paperless to making use of available daylight, adopting a sustainable approach can be very beneficial to your business. Here are some ways you can reduce your carbon footprint while improving your office performance:

  • Investing in solar technology will help slash those electricity bills by powering your lights and heating your water.
  • Taking full advantage of sunlight will improve staff morale and reduce the need for overhead and desk lighting.
  • Going paperless will help you save money on printers and resources and, since less filing cabinets will be required, free up office space. It will help reduce energy usage in the paper industry, reduce fuel consumption and of course, save trees.
Cuningham Group offices in California, United States, by Cuningham Group

 A commercial office fit out should promote a cultured image and a flexible, well thought-out working environment.  It is an excellent opportunity for businesses to rearrange and update certain aspects of the company in an organised, cohesive way.

The result should make for an attractive, efficient workplace that is in tune with the company's needs and plans for the future, not only the present.

Opening photo by Diego Aguilar on Unsplash

Green leases: the benefits of going green

Rising in popularity among corporate tenants, green leases are a true real-estate opportunity for landlords, and a promise to the environment.

You might have heard of green leases and wondered if you should consider signing one. The answer is yes and the reasons why might surprise you.

What is a green lease? First introduced in the UK and Australia in 2006, green leases are an opportunity to fight climate change while also making profit. It is an energy and cost saving approach that aims to improve the environmental performance of your leased office space, thus increasing its appeal to corporate tenants.

Brent Civic Centre in London - 'outstanding' BREEAM rating. Architect: Hopkins Architects. Main contractor: Skanska.

At the start of this year, the UK commercial property market saw a record activity in the London real estate market with a total of £4.9bn worth of transactions between January and March 2017. By retrofitting your commercial property, you will not only distinguish yourself from the competition, you will also show commitment to the future and set yourself apart as a forward-thinking commercial real-estate leader.

UBM’s 240 Blackfriars office in London - ‘excellent’ BREEAM rating. Architect: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris. Developer: Great Portland Estates

Having environmentally sustainable features is seen as a competitive advantage.

Michael De Jong-Douglas

So how can a green lease benefit you and your tenants? What are the incentives of designing, constructing and managing sustainable commercial buildings?

  • Your core asset is maintained in compliance with its sustainable design
  • As a result, the building achieves maximum rental returns and occupancy rates
  • Maintenance and operating costs are minimized and utility consumption is reduced
  • Your public image is enhanced and your asset scores better on green rankings
  • Waste stream diversions lead to extra savings
  • Landlord-tenant relationship is strengthened: green leases help provide financially beneficial incentives for both parties. 
  • Show leadership in energy and environmental design by getting BREEAM certified: in accordance with the European Union’s Energy Efficiency Directive, the UK has a national energy efficiency target to reduce energy consumption by 18% in 2020. Contributing to the national target shows ambition and civic leadership.
PWC's office fitted-out by Overbury and Morgan Lovell - 'outstanding' BREEAM rating.  

Looking at the commercial real estate market last year, it's becoming clear that tenants value sustainability when looking to lease new office spaces. For tenants, green buildings are synonymous with efficient buildings – smart, forward-looking landlords can reap the benefits of this energy efficiency.

Opening photo: Sea Containers, BDG

Should more offices swap stairs for slides?

Playground equipment isn't just for kids.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. In recent years, this old proverb has weaved its way into the work culture where the importance of downtime has not only been recognised but also promoted.

 

Box.net's office reception slide. Architect: Fennie+Mehl

More and more concerned with wellbeing in the workplace, companies are incorporating 'fun' in the office. Game rooms, ping pong tables and football nets are no strangers to the workplace as forward-looking offices are slowly turning into carefully balanced playgrounds. So why should the staircase not get a fun makeover too?

You might've taken notice of Google and its obsession with slides, but more and more companies around the world are now jumping on the bandwagon and installing slides in their offices. Some are sleek and minimal, others remind us of wild attraction parks but whatever the design, one ride is enough to bring back playful childhood memories – all from the comfort of the office.

Integrating playground apparatus into the workplace is rarely governed by whim. More than fun smooth chutes, slides mean business - they can give an edge to the workplace and increase job satisfaction.

To inspire you, let's look at some companies with slides in their offices. 

Google Zurich
theCHIVE Austin Texas
theCHIVE Austin Texas
Lego Denmark
Google Detroit
Ogilvy & Mather Jakarta
Opening photo: Ticketmaster London