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New office role affects space design and services

8/28/2023

Since 2017, Cushman & Wakefield has collected more than 10 million data points from over 130 companies and 100 countries in its Experience Per Square Foot™ (XSF) study. The study revealed that the new role of the office – now a place where employees go to connect, socialize and be creative – affects the design and services available.

With most employees viewing the office as a place to connect, we envision a shift in office space design and services where workspaces will revert from the traditional two-thirds desk space and one-third collaborative space to a third of desking and two thirds of collaborative space.

As the density of employees per square foot in the office continues to decline, we also envision a workplace that will resemble a conference center, where people will intentionally go to interact, debate, learn and celebrate together. This means a change in our workplace services as well, as employees will become more like guests, where they may not have an assigned seat and where hospitality and concierge services can be provided.

These companies also understand that one size does not fit all, and that different segments of the workforce are likely to have very different responses to the current work experience. The best companies realize that office attendance is a joint decision, where teams come together to develop their own schedules and frequencies that work best for everyone.

People need inspiring work environments
Workplace inspiration—including the company's policies, culture, and workplace—is the key workplace attribute for employee engagement and workplace experience outcomes. Employers should focus on the employee experience, discovering what inspires people to want to be in the office and then investing in those capabilities.

Our research and statistical analysis showed us that out of 40 workplace attributes, across six categories – workplace design, technology, amenities and environment, social and governance (ESG), services, location and brand – only about 20 % to 25% drive people's experience and provide significant value.

This varies by region, market, and building level. Through an evidence-based, data-driven methodology driven by the employee voice, companies can focus on what matters and identify workplace experience attributes in which to invest.

Our research has shown that there are over 80 amenities businesses can invest in, all of which fall into one of four categories:

• Wellness (fitness, healthy food, ecological trails)
• Work-life balance (fast food, shop, ATM)
• Social (concerts, clubs, cooking classes)
• Company benefits (free coffee or free parking)

Through employee voice diagnostics, XSF helped uncover the amenities that matter. We're replacing guesswork and subjectivity with employee voice data and predictive analytics, reducing costs while focusing on the amenities that will make the difference in attracting a talented workforce to the office. A focus on environments that support well-being is key, as we've seen a steady decline in people's sense of well-being since before the pandemic – from 73% in 2019 to 39% in 2022.

Cushman & Wakefield Experience Per Square Foot™
Around the world, clients are using XSF, from Cushman & Wakefield, to understand the needs of employees and adjust their spaces and policies more assertively.

Among the reports are improvements in the workplace that facilitated the transition of employees back to the office, savings with spending on amenities that would not have had an impact, access to data that shows how the space impacts employees, among others.

Get in touch with our team of experts and find out how to deploy XSF in your company.

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