The management of UK offices is being transformed as landlords start to think of space as a service, rather than a commodity.
This shift in attitude places greater emphasis on customer service, as an increasing number of landlords strive to be best in class. The change to the way in which offices are managed reflects the wants and needs of today’s companies which are demanding more from the offices they occupy. As landlords recognise that in order to offer something different, they need to understand their occupier and create a product that offers more than just square feet and goes above and beyond.
The reason for this change is in part due to a wider realisation of the influence the office has on one of the most expensive elements of any business’s operational costs: the staff. There is a correlation between staff retention, productivity and the place of work and a belief that better offices attract and retain better talent. This translates into ensuring a building offers superior amenities and design, but also involves the way the building is operated and managed to accommodate wellness, flexibility, sustainability, community and a sense of place.
Increasingly there has been a greater focus on how robust building security is while still appearing welcoming and allowing efficient and easy access. Mapping how both employees and visitors move into and around a building identifies pinch points and the emotional response they evoke. New technology, such as facial recognition, which will allow customers to pre-register before entering a building, can help to make the experience safe yet slick.
Other recent innovations in office management include:
- Tenant portals to share news and updates.
- The availability of live information on property and financial data to create transparency between landlord and occupier.
- Placemaking to create a sense of community, in alignment with an occupier’s broader Corporate Social Responsibility.
- Sreamlined parcel delivery to save on cost and carbon output.
- Installing monitors that log the air quality for all to see.
- Providing a customer focussed hospitality-style service for all who use the building.
At the same time, the majority of occupiers continue to make decisions about their offices based on cost and it is important to address any conflicting requirements.
The British Council for Offices’ (BCO’s) latest report, Office Service Standards and Customer Experience: A Best Practice Guide, outlines a much wider set of skills required in property management to provide better customer experience at all. At Savills we are implementing a new ‘5-star’ initiative across our managed offices in the UK to respond to BCO’s new standards and measure a building’s performance on behalf of owners, occupiers and property managers alike.
By adapting to best practice methods, landlords can understand their buildings and occupiers better, be more inclusive and get regular feedback to make sure everyone’s happy.
If landlords ignore the sector’s change in sentiment, their offices will be increasingly redundant and less able to command higher rents. The offices which are flexible, offer sustainable services and placemaking will command a premium as occupiers will want to work there.