The purpose of the office has totally evolved in the past year. Instead of being a place for people to put their heads down and focus on individual work, it’s become an environment about collaboration and making connections with colleagues.

This means that office experts need to have a better understanding of what building users need, and how exactly to provide the best experience possible so the workspace becomes a place people actually want to commute to.

“The inconvenient truth for the office market now is that things like high quality lighting and air conditioning are just entry level merits for today’s office,” said Tanya Lambert, senior asset manager at AXA Investment Managers’ alternatives investment business, AXA IM Alts. “Premium fixtures and fittings alone are not good enough, and most importantly we really need to understand who our customer is.”

Moving forward, office design will need to use a customer-first approach and in this case, employees are the customers. The best way to accomplish this is to incorporate bespoke spaces for departments that help nurture interaction with workers.

“You don’t want to be coming into the office locking yourself away doing emails or back-to-back video conference calls,” said Stuart Davie, head of corporate real estate in Australia for HSBC bank. “The office must be used as a vehicle for human interaction that also helps promote the culture you want to build for your organisation.

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