The office sector went through many shifts in 2022. Now, the turn of the new year has invited many new trends that will shape the future of the office industry.
Let’s look at six of commercial real estate’s biggest office trends that we’re watching in 2023 and beyond.
#1. Getting Back to the Office Gets Serious
As we move away from the pandemic’s disturbance to working together in large groups at the office, many organizations have been calling their employees back to the physical workspace at an increased cadence.
While flexible work schedules aren’t expected to fall away any time soon (see trend #5), many businesses are getting more serious about their return-to-work strategies.
In order to accommodate the new needs and preferences of the workforce, and to ensure that the office is a safe and wellness-promoting environment, many organizations have invested heavily in preparing their workplaces to welcome team members back for the long run.
As more workplace-improvement projects are completed throughout 2023 and health risks associated with the pandemic subside, expect work cultures to move farther away from work-from-home structures.
#2. A Boost in New Construction to Accommodate New Needs
The 2023 office requires many new accommodations and amenities to stay current with the industry’s quickly evolving building standards. The office sector is expected to see a boost in new construction to create assets that offer building features that are attracting today’s tenants.
Key trends for office building features in 2023 include:
- Flexible floorplan design and modular furniture
- Outdoor access
- Compelling amenities
#3. Flexible Leasing Remains in High Demand
Flexible leasing that allows organizations to quickly and efficiently adjust their operations continues to appeal to decision-makers in the office space.
After the pandemic’s uncertainty, many companies are wary to lock themselves into long-term leases that do not offer them the agility required to make an instant strategy change according to sudden shifts in the market.
While flexible leasing attracts office tenants, it does pose unique challenges to office developers and investors.
Long-term leases guarantee greater financial security whereas flexible, short-term leases introduce greater risk. However, many building owners are open to this solution as it has been boosting occupancy rates throughout 2022.
#4. Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Take Center Stage
Across the board, high-quality office spaces are proving to be more resilient to occupancy fluctuations.
As more companies make net-zero carbon pledges and strive to reduce energy waste, office buildings with strong sustainability credentials are attracting more tenants than those that don’t prioritize green initiatives.
Expect to see existing office buildings undergo retrofitting renovations to equip them with all of the green features that create an eco-friendly office environment.
#5. Hybrid is Here to Stay
In 2022, hybrid work has proved to be a successful initiative that transitioned offices out of the prolonged remote work requirements of 2020 and 2021.
Today, hybrid work cultures — where employees have the flexibility to work from home and come into the office — are the norm for most organizations, even as pandemic concerns wane.
Hybrid schedules are appealing to many members of the workforce as it provides them with the best of both worlds.
The benefits, convenience, and cost-effectiveness of working from home are coupled with the appeal of visiting the office in person to collaborate with team members and enjoy workplace amenities that may not be available at home or in third places.
Besides benefitting team members, it also gives organizations the agility to shift working protocols as needed in the case of future uncertainty.
Even as companies encourage team members to return to the office, hybrid is forecasted to remain a prominent part of workplace culture in 2023 and beyond.
#6. Strong PropTech is a Must
In order to keep separated teams connected and maintain a smooth workflow with some members working from home and some working from the office, advanced technology systems are essential for the office sector.
According to research from Deloitte, technology investments can unlock long-term business-boosting potentials.
Investing in technology, such as proptech suites that fully-sync information across all platforms, can free up team member time allowing them to focus on core initiatives.
Innovative technologies can also serve as a differentiator from competitors, giving an organization unique abilities that set them apart in the local market. Across all business sectors, the need for strong technology is not going anywhere in 2023.
Make sure to keep an eye on these six office trends that will be defining this year’s market.
To learn more about the latest commercial real estate trends, explore the RealNex Blog!