The Expected Evolution of the Office Space

Sarah Lynch, BNP Paribas Real Estate.

Office and corporate culture are changing. In some cases, traditional desk space is being adjusted by introducing moving walls or completely replaced to allow for additional collaboration space such as meeting rooms, break out areas, social and wellness spaces. This change in office use should be more significant in large companies and in some specific business sectors such as the Technology, Media and Telecom (TMT) sector, while organisation change should remain more modest in small and medium sized companies.

Companies are veering away from dense offices that contradict health measures introduced over the course of the pandemic. As a result, we are beginning to see companies respond with de-densified offices. This move towards less dense spaces and changes to space organisation due to social distance, may leave the floor space per worker unchanged or even increase it.

The vast majority of companies will opt for a partial but increased share of working from home. Adopting a hybrid work arrangement by mixing remote and on-site working, whereby employees will be limited to a certain number of days from home and a physical presence will still be required such as 2 days working from home and 3 days in the office.

While the layout and function of the office is changing, office buildings will remain part of a company’s image. Famous office buildings around the World have often become an integral part of some companies’ image and fame, due to their size or architecture. This is seen in Dublin’s Silicon Docks and the ‘Google Basin’ where companies such as Google, Facebook, HubSpot, Stripe, Airbnb and Accenture, to name but a few, occupy landmark buildings.

Office buildings can be a possibility for companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors or to build their identity in the economic landscape. Spectacular headquarters also help companies to build a positive image and attract talent. It is likely that office buildings will still represent an important part of companies’ identity, even if more employees will be working outside of the physical office.

While working from home has become the norm since the Covid-19 pandemic, the office looks set to remain a vital part of business. Office employment is expected to grow significantly in Europe in the next ten years due to robust GDP growth expected from next year. On average, the number of office jobs in Europe are expected to increase by 10% by 2030. For Ireland, this figure is significantly higher with a 24% employment increase predicted by 2030.

The rise of employees working from home raises the question whether office space will shrink. However, while it is anticipated that working from home on a daily basis will double on average in Europe, companies will still need offices to accommodate this expected increase in workforce.

Sarah Lynch, BNP Paribas Real Estate.

All images supplied by BNP Paribas.

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