Four lessons on the future of office

How do we create offices that seduce people to work there? That is the one million question that the commercial real estate sector is struggling with. This week our graduate students received a masterclass in Amsterdam about the future of offices by Cees van der Spek and Fleur Klanderman of sustainable office developer Edge Technologies.

This is what we learned from Edge, one of the most innovative developers in the world. Attractive offices are:

1. Smart: Technology is enabling investors and asset managers to have a 360 degree view on every element of the building all of the time, allowing them to monitor and optimize their buildings in real time. What can you do with it? Optimization of energy use, cleaning schedules, waste management are just the beginning of the new era of building management. Perhaps even more important: smart buildings can monitor occupancy at the space and even desk-level, which means more optimal use of space, directing people to areas that are free, and enabling tenants to understand exactly how much space is needed, and when.

2. Flexible: The Work from Home #WHF era is a game changer that has shifted the view of employees towards the role of their office. Developing buildings that enable collaboration and socializing at work becomes an integral part of the new office, where every working day brings an opportunity to network, learn and share with everyone in the property. That means: large floorplans that allow for flexible use, including easy-to-install staircases between floors, a common area that rivals the lobby of the most attractive hotels (think, for example, CitizenM), and leasing strategies that include both long-term leases with short-term leases in WeWork-like concepts (all in the same building).

3. Sustainable: Building development is reinventing itself to reduce carbon emissions. Not just carbon emissions from operations (which has become relatively straightforward), but rather the hard part – emissions from construction! @Edge is using new materials and techniques to eliminate the embodied carbon in buildings: circularity of building materials, sustainable timber and concrete, etc. will be game changers to take emissions in construction from 1,500 kg/m2 to 500 kg/m2, that’s a massive challenge! And, once the building is in operation, developers need to remain engaged in making sure the building is used how it was envisioned to be used, made possible, again, by technology.

4. Healthy: We spend over 90% of our time indoors. Buildings shape how we move, breath, and what we see and eat. Prominent staircases, higher ventilation rates, healthy food, biophilic elements, lots of natural light all will make you more productive during the day, and fitter after a day at the office! Importantly, this is an area where tech and flexibility come together: meeting rooms are equipped with real-time occupancy and CO2 meters and dashboards that indicate when CO2 levels get too high. The room dashboard or app will indicate to users looking for a room which rooms need some time to ventilate, and which rooms are ready to be used. Oh, and that meeting room with a rolling carpet for walking meetings – AWESOME!

Looking for inspiration? These are the buildings that our graduates experienced:

1. ING head quarters

2. Edge Olympic

3. Edge Stadium

Whats App Image 2023 05 25 At 12 22 43