Editor: As pandemic recovery begins, offices can only aspire to ‘super-prime’ status if they have the tech to support it (‘New strata of “super-prime” offices could arise from pandemic, says BlackRock’).
As well as flexible assets, new buildings and proximity to transport hubs, tech provision will be a crucial barometer as workspace offerings come under the scrutiny of ever more comprehensive metrics.
Offices for lease in London can already charge a 5% premium on space that achieves a ‘high’ WiredScore connectivity rating, and the emphasis on rapid, reliable internet access is only going to increase as employees return to the workplace. Landlords should position themselves to accommodate tenants’ demand for robust connectivity, and their willingness to pay for the privilege.
As businesses increasingly reflect on the post-pandemic wellbeing of staff, landlords could also seize the opportunity to embrace AI-enabled systems that control environmental factors to create happier, healthier and more productive workspaces.
Even before Covid, a third of workers said better lighting would improve their happiness at work. Since then, a raft of health complaints caused by working from home has heightened businesses’ interest in smart building infrastructure capable of regulating lighting according to patterns of occupier preference.
Investing in tech such as this can play a crucial part in future-proofing assets, making space more marketable by also prioritising sustainability.
Smart systems that streamline energy output will yield lower utility bills and a reduced impact on the environment, differentiating buildings that are competing in a saturated market. With 63% of office workers placing critical importance on an environmentally friendly workplace, offices with grade-A sustainability credentials will have an automatic edge.
These are the standards against which office providers will be judged post pandemic, as businesses return to workplaces expecting greater technical capacity than ever. Landlords who fail to invest in the right tech should be warned: tenants will not settle for second best.
Richard Morris, director, technologywithin