Thoughtful buildings for the way we want to work

Work is not all about the office. So on a glorious, sunny day in London, where do office workers want to be? Outside, of course.

That is why landmark developments, such as New Street Square, incorporate delightful open spaces where you can sit in the shade of a tree, bask in the warmth of the sun or dine alfresco. Calming water features and a vast living wall make this an oasis in our busy city.

The office is also more and more about a lifestyle, not just a living.

So employers are increasingly attracting talent with the offer of a great life, not just a great working environment.

Nova, Victoria

Nova, Victoria

That is why Land Securities has curated a go-to destination in its architecturally daring regeneration of Victoria with some of London’s best bars, restaurants, retail, culture and open spaces all on the doorstep and, of course, fitness studios. It is catering for every taste with restaurateurs Jason Atherton, Will Ricker, D&D and Jamie Oliver set to open in Nova, Victoria later this year.

Land Securities research also discovered that the quality and availability of workplace cycle facilities influences the career choice of more than half of respondents.

Inspiring workspaces give people space to breathe and be creative, to work in different ways and to enjoy life outside the office as much as in it

Employees cycling to Land Securities buildings in Victoria can use health club-quality facilities with hot showers, hairdryers, lockers, towel service as well as accessing secure bike storage.

All these thoughtful innovations have one thing in common – they have nothing to do with work itself. Instead, they make a workplace desirable. And that is why they are increasingly essential.

“Real estate costs are no longer just about the bottom line – cost-savings,” says Kaela Fenn-Smith, London head of commercial at Land Securities. “Organisations want their workspaces to work efficiently, but also to promote productivity.

“However, premises are increasingly about improving the top line too – attracting and retaining talent. Inspiring workspaces give people space to breathe and be creative, to work in different ways and to enjoy life outside the office as much as in it. As such they are the places where people want to work.

“That is why Land Securities has thought long and hard about what must-haves the workplaces of tomorrow will need, and we are designing them in collaboration with many stakeholders, from human resources to chief information officers, because the workplace of the future is all about people.”
In the last five years, Land Securities has speculatively built 3.5million square foot of space in London.

As this has not been designed for any particular client, Land Securities needs to have an insightful understanding of what prospective occupants’ needs might be – not just today, but also in five, ten or twenty years’ time.

So tomorrow’s office has wide, open-floor plates to accommodate agile and activity-based working. There are more communal areas on ground floors and around the building to enable more flexible ways of working. Even the little touches, like more loos (so less queuing) are taken care of.

“Nicer environments attract talent – it is as simple as that,” says Ms Fenn-Smith. “Our role is to deliver these environments. However, this is also better for business. Agile working can often improve occupational density by up to 20 per cent because employees are no longer fixed to one desk.

“There can also be a productivity boost. A comfortable, well-ventilated, well-lit, safe workplace can increase productivity by as much as 16 per cent, job satisfaction by up to 24 per cent and reduce absenteeism.

“So we are developing sites with floor-to-ceiling windows and open-floor plates to bring in natural light throughout the workspace with the bonus of amazing views. And we are creating spaces with zonal control for heating, cooling and lighting, and filtered air that is as fresh and clean as the air you would breathe by the sea.


The Zig Zag building reception (completed November 2015)

“Younger employees, in particular, are more concerned about the environmental credentials of their employer, so our building materials are responsibly sourced and we are increasingly energy efficient, using rainwater harvesting and photovoltaic panels at sites such as The Zig Zag Building.

“Imaginative and creative design is another must. Our iconic Walkie Talkie building, with spectacular public Sky Garden, at 20 Fenchurch Street shows that workplaces are increasingly destinations in their own right. Go up to the Sky Garden and admire the uninterrupted views of the City from the terrace. Who wouldn’t want to work there?”

This obsession with understanding how working practices are evolving and what this means for the office of the future, is vital to the success of the capital’s employers.

“We make it our business to understand how our customers’ businesses will change in the future,” says Ms Fenn-Smith. “This enables us to deliver space that is flexible enough to adapt. For example, by keeping our customer’s needs close to our hearts, we have been able to move businesses within our Victoria buildings as they grow.

“Similarly, we pre-let 1 New Street Square in its entirety to Deloitte, allowing them to expand their existing campus, something which we achieved because, as a long-standing customer, we have invested time in understanding and supporting their needs.

“Importantly, our insights, experience and expertise tell us that one size does not fit all. Even in Victoria, one customer might need space to showcase its latest fashion collection, while another needs the technical resilience to support financial operations 24/7.

“Fortunately, our sheer scale means our portfolio and current development pipeline is better placed than anyone’s to fulfil our customers’ ambitions.”

And this is what the workplace of the future is all about – achieving not only the ambitions of employers, but also the wants and needs of the people who work for them.

This is changing how we view the office. Land Securities is creating environments, campuses and even whole new neighbourhoods, where people want to be – not just work.