Last week, our office in London hosted the CoreNet Global UK Chapter’s annual Predictions & Resolutions breakfast with our client TH Real Estate in their new gallery space at the 201 Bishopsgate headquarters. Guest speakers included Simon Calvert of CBRE, Paul Williams of Derwent London and Adam Hoy of Unilever and UK Chapter President James Maddock of DTZ, all looking ahead to 2015 and the opportunities – and challenges – it will bring to the UK occupier market.
Each speaker laid their predictions for the year ahead on the table, and set out their top three resolutions. Here’s my short round up of some of the main topics and things to look out for:
- Landlords will improve their offering. Simon Calvert predicted that landlords will cater for the new wave of collaborative working, increase in small businesses and the independent worker.
- Relaxed, shorter leases. Paul Williams agreed with Calvert and expects to see a relaxation in leases and shorter leases, as well as more collaboration between the landlord and the tenant. He also believes there’s better ways to review rents and the dilapidation process to find a better solution for the two.
- Election influences the market. Politics was a somewhat obvious but topical subject with questions being raised on the impact it will have on the industry and the role big data will have to play in the election itself. Perhaps unsurprisingly the majority of the vote in the room leaned towards a hung parliament and second vote in October, with one speaker even going as far as suggesting a David Cameron and Nigel Farage coalition. We’re not convinced.
- Technology security is paramount. On a more serious note, and in light of recent hacks into the US Central Command’s Twitter last week, James Maddock said there’s a very real possibility of a cyber-attack on the world banks, IT and technology security should remain a concern for most businesses.
- Olfactory insights. Lightening the mood, I’m already excited about Maddock’s prediction of the rise in smell-o-vision, with an app, known as Scentee, for smartphones already in existence. How can we incorporate this into our designs? Stay tuned!
- Technology in the service of mobile work. Technology, inevitably, was a hot topic, with predictions that it will move further up the C-suite agenda this year. Adam Hoy, global workplace innovation and operations director at Unilever, believes it’s already high on the agenda, with on-demand and collaborative working already adopted in forward-thinking workplaces and the need to equip staff with the latest technology to enable them to work anyplace anytime only going to increase.
- Collaboration is key. The ‘c’ word resonated with all the speakers: collaboration between the end user and service provider; the increase in demand for collaborative space and need for designers to take responsibility and design with this in mind; collaboration between the tenant and landlord, and finally collaboration between HR and IT.
As designers ourselves, I agree. We need to be aware of these potential changes and the impact they have on our role in the industry. I’m a firm believer that it is our responsibility to design spaces that encourage collaboration, enable and support the technical requirements of the future and provide a space that will attract and encourage the occupier and create an active and healthy workspace.
Finally, what was evident is that London is the place to be and will continue to be a huge driving force in 2015. Watch this space.