THE NEW SPEC SUITE: Designing The Home Away From Home
So often we take our offices for granted, their design misconstrued as superfluous or with unnecessary detail, and their usability and functionality dismissed. After all, a chair and a desk will suffice right?
The importance of well-designed and well-conceived workplaces may seem obvious but consider the data:
Salary has the largest influence for the attractiveness of a job (45%), with workplace culture (32%) and facilities (16%) combining to outweigh the influence of salary.*
These statistics are telling us that workplace design is crucial in attracting – and retaining – great employees.
When you consider the capital cost of an office renovation or build, relative to the ongoing cost of employee turnover and recruitment, investing in effective workplace design and organisational culture programs is by far the best and most economic option.
Australia’s leading cities and landlords are responding in kind. In a recent report from Knight Frank, it has been found that buildings in Melbourne with spec suites spaces remain on the market for a shorter time on average. Coupled with a generational shift in the way people work, we can see an increasing demand for smaller suites.^
It goes something like this; if landlords can provide for tenants with up-spec’d environments, purpose built and special facilities, the health and wellbeing of staff and users overrides any kind of expenditure used to create such an environment – particularly in a post pandemic world. And for the landlord, the benefits of reduced vacancy, quick occupancy and improved productivity have knock on effects greater than the sum of the whole.
New studies have found the world’s cities will be dependent on renewal of existing buildings and properties to create more sustainable, regenerative places that serve both climate and community, transforming ‘ordinary’ buildings with substantial, sustainable improvements. By enhancing the structure through adaptive reuse or increasing urban relevance and therefore tenant attraction, the potential gains – social, financial, environmental and performance – are limitless.
The World Green Building Council shows that in Europe, 80% of the buildings already in use will still be around in 2050.** Making buildings attractive and functional for the modern world is crucial if we are to achieve all our goals for the future.
Importantly, not all spec suites are the same and each response reflects the needs of landlords, clients and tenants. McCormack has sprung to action in response to these recent developments.
For many years, the physical planning and design of space has taken precedence over activities and programming, requiring people to modify their behaviour to fit in, instead of modifying our spaces to fit with people. This approach has often been applied with a focus on large-scale order over small-scale vibrancy too.
Nicky Karim, Design Director of Studio 103 understands that “some of the repeated design challenges we have faced after coming out of lockdowns, is the reluctancy of staff to return to the office. The solution to this conundrum is something that will take time, but by creating communal spaces that replicate a hint of the home, we help initiate a feeling of warmth and comfort.”
Different workspaces/environments are required to keep a workplace functioning, whether that be quiet, shared, private or common rooms, phone friendly or kitchens.
“Our focus is on being better every day [which] fosters a high level of collaboration internally and externally. This approach flows on to collaborating with the consultants on the project and proposing solutions and recommendations to our client,” says Harry Harisiou, McCormack’s Business strategy, People and Culture Manager.
Ultimately the focus for McCormack is to produce buildings and suites that engage tenants, provide for landlords and make work as pleasant and productive as possible. Only then do we see the impact of positive, proper and important design choices.
Ask McCormack and their design team to help you reconfigure and rethink your property. As can be seen in the data, the importance of good design and strategy cannot be overstated, but the returns on investment and higher occupancy rates are the real cherry on top.
*Workplace Employee Attraction, Hassell
^Melbourne CBD landlords step up spec-suites supply, JLL
**Bringing Embodied Carbon Upfront, 2019, World Green Building Council