[Urban Chronicles #WellBeingAtWork] #02 - Towards an « as service » corporate office?

Published by Laetitia Morere

In the same way that the traditional vision of housing is being questioned by the arrival of the "millennials" on the residential building market, the office real estate market is now being shaken by the new expectations of occupants.

Initiated by GAFAs (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) seeking to attract and retain the best employee profiles, and by the "start-ups" dynamic, the services offered in the workplace are attracting more and more interest from employees looking for the ideal working environment. Consequently, all these new service developments are becoming a key issue for employers and therefore for developers and owners of tertiary buildings. 

Thus, the office is no longer simply intended to provide employees with work tools but becomes a daily experience in its own right, serving the well-being of employees and their productivity.

This is why the classic question "What will tomorrow's offices look like? "is gradually being replaced by "What will be the experience of future office users? ».

What are the trends in the office property market?

The building of tomorrow and the services it offers respond to changes in working methods. Indeed, and as underlined in the framework of the ELAN law, the office is subject to obsolescence: 500,000 m2 of offices are destined to be transformed into housing in Ile-de-France because they are no longer adapted to contemporary uses. Thus, services are a challenge for owners if they wish to continue to enhance the value of their real estate assets.

In addition, the notion of happiness in the workplace is increasingly present, as evidenced in particular by the appointment in companies of "chief happiness officer". With the spread of the start-up culture, employees are increasingly sensitive to their well-being at work and the services offered contribute significantly to it. To such an extent that certain services are now becoming prerequisites for larger groups and can also constitute an element of differentiation.

By making the workplace a unique space of experience at the service of the well-being, or even the happiness, of employees, we are gradually moving away from the spatial dichotomy between private and professional life. How does this fit into the office real estate development strategy?

How are the services offered within the offices structured?

There are two levels of intervention for the inclusion of services in the tertiary building. First, services directly integrated into the building, particularly in connection with smart building technologies, or which are to be anticipated during the promotion phase. Then, the services offered directly to the occupants, which may vary according to the type of user of the building.

Thus, we distinguish two actors in the implementation of services: the manufacturer with a role of anticipating services, and the operator for the development and enhancement of the services offered.

Today, a new approach to building design is emerging, which is based on service design, centered on the user path to ensure that service interfaces are adapted to the occupants. Consultation and dialogue with end users are once again at the heart of tomorrow's developers' strategies!

Thus, the services offered differ from one office to another, their relevance ensuring their use. Four sets of services can be distinguished:

  • Feeling at home
    The layout of offices is at the heart of this challenge by offering occupants a pleasant working environment, with a very qualitative decoration as at home and the integration of green spaces, but also an organization of the space more in adequacy with their daily needs. Thus, split open space, flex office and the resulting flexibility in work organization are increasingly being implemented. 
  • Access to previously external services 
    This first concerned sports-related offers, such as showers and changing rooms, and today we are seeing the development of a whole range of diversified services: spa, nap room, massage services. At the same time, office real estate is beginning to integrate all neighborhood services directly into it by offering concierge services, dry cleaning, shoemaking, post office, hairdresser, crèches and general or specialized health care.
  • Enjoy a quality and diversified catering
    We note the development of a very wide range of catering services, depending on the needs and resources of companies. Thus, employees can be provided with an equipped kitchen, paid catering services such as company restaurants or private chains, or free catering, as is the case at Google. Partnerships with lunch delivery companies are also possible to allow employees to be delivered to a relay point in the company without having to take the delivery person to his personal office, which may not be fixed!
  • Benefit from an efficient connection to mobility networks
    The challenge here is to think of the office building as a multimodal platform by making it a crossroads of collective mobility (public transport, shuttles) and individual mobility (parking, electric vehicles on demand, bicycle rooms, bicycle repair tools).

Is creativity a new service to be integrated?

A fifth set of services, which is more widespread throughout the company, is the collaborative potential offered by the premises. At a time of collective intelligence and project management, is office real estate adapted to new business practices?

As employees are increasingly mobile, companies using offices will have to allow more modular spaces and offer spaces dedicated to collaboration and innovation based on a thoughtful organization of the space.

The challenge resulting from this change in work, and in order to deeply anchor these changes in practices, is the need to create a social link between employees that will serve as a basis for future collaborations. This social link can be part of a specific building design such as the anticipation of meeting places or the anticipation of the user experience. The office becomes a connector and creates the conditions to develop a sharing ecosystem.

By placing the human being at the center of their thinking, co-working spaces are at the forefront of these new codes and we will discover in a future episode their best practices in order to better understand the evolutions of office real estate in the service of well-being.

For more information on Green Soluce and our services, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Moderated by : Sylvain Bosquet

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