There is a shift in how corporates are envisioning their space requirements. Clients need and want to better understand their business functionality, employee working styles, and technology requirements to optimize their space and enhance the workplace experience.
As the construction industry in Asia-Pacific faces challenges from labor shortages to increased material costs and supply chain disruption, both occupiers and investors are moving towards office spaces that are experience-focused, sustainable, and support hybrid working to realize long-term value from construction.
As employees gradually return to the office and more flexible working practices are adopted, we have identified three key office fit-out trends and what they mean for construction and project managers.
1. The Transition to Permanent Hybrid – Planning is Key
While some companies are becoming more active participants in the right-sizing of their own spaces, they are still seeking high-quality advice to help guide the project.
Aligning workplace change, design, and procurement processes are paramount for managing supply chain disruption. Project managers play a pivotal role here by helping clients build realistic project timelines and budgets. IT, AV, security, built space, and furniture requirements also need to be factored into planning at the concept design stage.
Early engagement of the project delivery team is important and can help expedite delivery by ensuring that key considerations from designers, contractors, and suppliers are included in the business and real estate decision-making process from the outset.
2. Designing for Experience
While we are seeing a move towards more modular-style work points, increased collaboration areas, and multi-purpose spaces, there remains a clear driver in ensuring that AV and IT solutions cater to both the flexible and traditional way of work. Connectivity, cable management, charging options, passive and active acoustic solutions, and room versatility are key to a seamless user experience.
For example, wireless display sharing and mobile power modules can offer more flexibility than traditional point-to-point wiring solutions where floor service outlet boxes, surface ports, and cabling have all been removed from the equation. This gives designers far more flexibility in furnishing spaces that work with multiple user types and needs.
3. Incorporating Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Considerations
To enhance both corporate culture and the employee experience, employers are moving towards space quality over quantity. We are seeing occupiers and investors place greater emphasis on ESG considerations as they address carbon reduction commitments and stringent requirements of green capital; green buildings and health and wellbeing credentials are increasingly sought-after.
From a build perspective, this means ensuring materials are sustainably sourced and that power and energy consumption from lights, AV/IT, heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems meet or exceed the minimum efficiency requirements set by local laws, building regulations, and landlord and client corporate targets.
As organizations adapt to the post-pandemic working environment, office fit-outs, more than ever, must reflect the needs of both employees and companies. Proper planning, agile design, and environmental sensitivity will help position companies to realize maximum value from their workplace investment.