A look into the future of office space in NZ and worldwide

The plates are moving underneath the world's most advanced economies and a seismic shift in the way we work is approaching. In 2018 there's still a focus on nine-to-five presenteeism, in-house employees and traditional workspaces.

In the not so distant future the majority of the world's workforces will be remote, freelance and completely flexible. Working from home or abroad will be the norm, and offices will transform into smaller, more flexible and collaborative spaces.

With the changing nature of work in mind, we've looked forward to the future of New Zealand office space.

Office Building

Office spaces in New Zealand are changing to adapt to the way we will work in the future.

The rise of flexible working arrangements

America's economy is the largest in the world and its emerging trends often indicate the future for the rest of us. That's why it's so significant that 36% of the American workforce are freelancers. This number is expected to increase past 50% in the next 10 years, according to a report from Upwork and the Freelancer's Union. New Zealand’s rate is lower at just 17 per cent, according to Statistics NZ, however, it’s likely that number will continue increasing just like it is in the US. 

This change has been labeled the rise of the 'gig economy' and entails a shift to more flexible, less location dependent working arrangement. As technology increasingly enables us to work from anywhere, employees will take advantage of this added flexibility to better mold work around other commitments such as leisure, travel and childcare.

So, what does this change mean for the future of the office?

A new approach to design and location

As the way we approach work changes so will office space in New Zealand. Open plan spaces and hotdesking have already become the norm, creating a space where employees are encouraged to interact and collaborate. 

Looking forward we expect these trends to become even more prolific as the office becomes a space workers choose to work - rather than somewhere they need to be. This will require a more design-led, and user-focused office space with bright open floorplans, lounge areas and gyms as well as few closed off rooms for intensive work, meetings or phone calls (there is such a thing as too open plan). 

Offices will also become more integrated into the surrounding areas as they become places to socialise and collaborate rather than a collection of desks and screens. That means easy access to transport links, cafes, bars and parks - offices will no longer be standalone entities, but a part of a mixed use precinct. Spaces like Auckland's Wynyard Quarter and Christchurch's Terrace development which includes retail, restaurants, bars and offices, are perfect examples of this.

Man working

Open workplaces that encourage socialising and collaboration are becoming the norm.

The changing nature of office spaces in NZ

The most obvious and noticeable shift that a changing workforce may cause is a reduced requirement for space per employee. That means eventually employers may require smaller offices, and that large employers may even offer employees more choice by setting up satellite offices around the city close to residential areas.

Practically this may mean a higher number of smaller office developments. This change could also send ripples through the residential market, with more and more Kiwis requiring homes with spaces suitable for use as a home office. 

Our workforce is already changing and our workspaces must change with them or be left behind. To start the search for your next modern office space, go digital and check out the website with the most commercial property listings in New Zealand - realestate.co.nz

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