Juliette Morgan, head of campus at British Land, believes that “the future of office buildings will be in hospitality”.
When asked about how British Land pitches its buildings Juliette said: “We look really hard at which bits of the building we can sacrifice to make less money.”
As offices shift and change, more properties are providing areas that don’t necessarily act as a source for revenue but instead act as a space for wellbeing to ensure that there is a focus on keeping the occupiers in the building happy.
Juliette added that: “We’re competing for people’s time and attention for highest and best work, it’s no longer about a sea of white desks” and soon “Alexa will be used in meeting rooms and spaces will remember what happened in them, who was in them and will automatically send something, like a GDPR receipt, after they leave.”
Spaces need to provide occupiers with the opportunity to flex up and down, according to Juliette, and British Land has created its own serviced office product, Storey, in response to this.
“Around 20% of the British Land office is occupied on a Friday. We have flexible Fridays, which means people can work anywhere whether that’s at another desk, in a coffee shop and so on.”
British Land’s board meet regularly to go through disaster preparation scenarios added Juliette, to try and answer the question ‘What would happen if you couldn’t get to work?’
“We’re encouraging people to work from home to try it and see if it’s doable for them and what they need in order to do so.”
When asked to summarise the next big trend in future of workplace the panel came up with ideas such as creating zones in buildings which will block wifi, spaces for education, and a 4-day week. Juliette added: ““I’m going to throw a curveball in here as it’s a material – bamboo is a super material. It absorbs 5 times as much carbon than traditional woods.”
This was said during a panel at MIPIM UK on the future of the workplace with other panellists including: Nicky Wightman, director of global occupier trends at Savills; Jacob Loftus, ceo of developer General Projects; and Matt Yeoman from architectural firm Buckley Grey Yeoman who chaired.
The panel explored the question of ‘How is workplace culture, office design and wellbeing affecting businesses’ ability to attract and retain talent, and what role can property play here?’.