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What will the office of tomorrow look like?

Updated: May 30

Glass office building
Glass skyscraper

As you may have noticed, the business world is undergoing a revolution, and the first signs of this change are to be found in the very workspaces we occupy.

Over the past few years, the traditional office has seen its role gradually transformed from that of a workplace to that of a meeting and collaboration place.

This trend has become even more pronounced with the recent health crisis. Rapidly changing working patterns, employee expectations and technological advances have redefined the way we design and use our workspaces.

This upheaval in working patterns represents a real challenge for companies, as it implies not only a change in behavior and culture on their part, but also a profound rethinking of the raison d'être of the office spaces they occupy.

That's why, in this article, we've decided to explore the key trends and innovations that could shape the office of tomorrow.

Flexibility is key

The office of the future is all about flexibility. Indeed, the traditional concept of an office with fixed locations and regular working hours is becoming obsolete. A study published in 2020 (JLL, 2020) by the renowned real estate consultancy JLL supports this view. It estimates that by 2030, 30% of office space could be arranged flexibly. Coworking spaces such as Silversquare and Skylab Factory in Brussels are fully in line with this trend, offering maximum flexibility to their occupants.

Technology & Smart Buildings

The "Cube" modern building in Berlin
The Cube in Berlin

Whether it's 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT) or Artificial Intelligence (AI), technology is disrupting every area of our society, and the office is no exception. The integration of technology into buildings is not limited to screens in meeting rooms and a quality Wi-fi connection: no, it goes far beyond that. In Berlin, for example, a futuristic building recently saw the light of day. The Cube, designed by architects 3XN, covers an area of almost 20,000 m2 and is an architectural and technological gem. Fitted with thousands of sensors that collect all kinds of information, this building can be efficiently managed remotely, and already gives us an idea of what our offices might look like in the future.

Sustainability at the heart of the office of tomorrow

Plant facade of the Parkroyal Collection Pickering building in Singapore
Parkroyal Collection Pickering in Singapore

According to CBRE, buildings worldwide account for 37% of CO2 emissions and 34% of energy demand. Faced with this situation, it's clear that all functions that have anything to do with the management of office space have a crucial role to play in the fight against global warming. These range from the selection of service providers according to specific criteria, through building renovation, to the implementation of concrete climate protection measures. In Singapore, for example, many of the facades of new buildings are covered with plants and vegetation, helping to regulate the temperature of the buildings naturally and consume less energy.

Multifunctional spaces

Since Covid, and particularly following the advent of telecommuting, many companies have chosen to reduce their office space for financial reasons, leaving behind many empty, unoccupied floors. This situation has prompted property managers to rethink their development strategy, bringing together various activities under one roof. This is the case, for example, of the project in the former Royale Belge building, which brings together a hotel, fitness center, coworking space, restaurant, bar and office space over 25,000 m2. From now on, the added value of the work and living spaces we will occupy in the future will lie in this multi-functionality.

Former Royale Belge building now in its green setting

In short, we can see that many trends are shaping the office of tomorrow. Flexibility, technology, sustainability and mutlifunctionality are some of the factors - but not the only ones - shaping the future of our workspaces. We could also have talked about mobility, wellbeing or data security, but we felt that the four topics covered in this article already gave you a good idea of the scale of the change currently taking place.

By investing in these areas, companies can create an environment conducive to growth, innovation and long-term success, while adapting to the evolution of our society.

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