Guest post by JLL Phoenix.
In August, the Arizona Technology Council hosted a panel Lunch and Learn on the current office trends in Valley commercial real estate. Panelists included Matthew Coxhead of JLL, Josh Thompson and Niki Ward of Ware Malcomb, Aliesha Nichter of Haworth, and Matthew Blair of Immedia.
Throughout the discussion, one trend became overwhelmingly clear: it is important for companies to identify their culture in the real estate process. The culture of a company can help inform a variety of decisions including what area in a city to locate an office, what type of furniture to use in an office, and even what type of audio/visual equipment needed in the office.
Using culture to define how much space you need
Matthew Coxhead’s perspective of the discussion focused on using culture to identify what stage of growth a company is in and determining how much space is needed. As a company grows, the typical stages it moves through change the type of real estate needed:
- Emerging companies usual choose to operate in a coworking environment where costs can be minimal.
- Growing companies often consider sublease space that offers short-term flexibility.
- Companies growing into maturity consider direct leasing where spaces of dreams can be built, sometimes considering a building purchase to have full control over space.
Using culture to determine what additional spaces are important
According to Josh Thompson, there is a growing trend to provide non-working areas for employees to enjoy at the office. These may include:
- Lounges and gamming areas
- In-office coffee shops or bars
- Indoor/outdoor combination areas
- Fitness and wellness areas
Using culture to plan your furniture purchase
Aliesha Nichter discussed the importance of culture in drilling down to the type of furniture used in an office space. According to Aliesha, it’s important to identify how each team of employees work and what they will use. A marketing team who needs to be able to quickly huddle and collaborate could probably benefit from an open desking area without any partitions but that may not be the best option for your accounting department employees who need quieter places to focus and need storage.
Using culture to identify what technology is needed
Last, but not least, Matthew Blair discussed how culture can help identify the level of technology needed in an office space. According to Matthew, technology investment can go from a Kia to a Ferrari budget in a second but finding the right fit is achieved when a company identifies the functionalities most important to them.
Planning is also key
Beyond culture, a key trend discussed by all panelists was the importance of planning and bringing all players together at the beginning of the real estate process. When this is done, the players can work with each other to determine the best solutions for the client, ensuring holistic success to your office space and budget.