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Designing the workplace experience

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Hub Australia has leased 223 Liverpool Street, Sydney. Hub Australia has leased 223 Liverpool Street, Sydney. Photo: supplied

Workplaces are constantly changing, and landlords are making sure they offer premises with the state-of-the-art offices that attract quality tenants.

In addition, tenants are looking for new office space that is sustainable, such as Lendlease’s​ International House Sydney, made of cross-laminated timber, in order to attract quality staff.

But are they keeping up with the almost daily changes to workplace practices?

One way to offer what the new workers want and desire – mainly the group from 24 onwards – is the new co-sharing offices that are flexible and very adaptive to all demands.

One such group is Hub Australia, which has secured a second Sydney site at 223 Liverpool Street, on the eastside of Hyde Park.

It is 4200 square metres and will be in addition to the Hub Australia’s existing William Street location. That increases its Sydney footprint to more than 5000 square metres  and more than 10,000 square metres nationally.  

John Preece, head of occupier solutions at Knight Frank, who brokered the Hub Australia lease, said he has been tracking the coworking sector closely and in recent years “we’ve seen a definitive trend towards more coworking facilities being opened within the CBD of a larger scale and higher quality”.

“Hub Australia’s new 223 Liverpool Street site is consistent with this trend and will be a welcome home-grown addition to Sydney’s buoyant coworking landscape,” Mr Preece said.

According to CBRE, modern workplaces have not adapted at a pace equal to technology, and the inability of real estate to keep pace is prompting many occupiers to think differently about how they plan and allocate their space.

Attracting and retaining talent, driving greater collaboration and productivity, and improving business agility are all top drivers of workplace change. Once the right market for talent is identified, the focus must turn to creating an environment where that talent can feel engaged and thrive. 

Nicole Fitzgerald, director, workplace services at CBRE, said in 2017 there has been a significant shift in the drivers of workplace strategy.

“Real estate executives continue to see collaboration as the No.1 driver, however talent attraction and retention has jumped from 30 per cent to 51 per cent, and cost dropped from 53 per cent to 35 per cent,” Ms Fitzgerald said.

“This demonstrates the very real war for talent that business is experiencing today, and the opportunity for workplace experience to be the differentiator. However, if done well, you don’t need to sacrifice cost to achieve a highly engaged workforce.”

Ms Fitzgerald said, in a new report from CBRE, as technology increases the ability to work from anywhere, there is a need to rethink the role of the office.

“In reality, it’s just one place in a network of places where work can be done. The office is still important because engagement is easier to influence when people are face-to-face,”‘ she said.

“So for an office to be successful in driving individual and business performance, it must be become the preferred place to get work done. This comes down to the workplace experience – how it empowers and inspires people, where technology is seamless and integrated, and connection and collaboration is intuitive and innate.

“We need our talent to choose the office because they know they will perform and achieve their more there than anywhere else.”

The CBRE report says there are five key factors to creating an optimal workplace experience: Set a clear vision which is anchored to the corporate strategy; enable your people by knowing what they need to truly be effective; get the basics right; see your office as the preferred destination to get work done; focus on the details for a workplace that makes people feel valued.

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