Creative industries: The regional office space take-up

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The role of the creative industry has experienced a revival over the past few years. A major power player in 2017, creative businesses are predominantly small, highly diverse and niche – ranging from fin-tech, to fashion technology and virtual reality.

Commercial property experts, Savoystewart.co.uk have assessed how in 2017, the industry has become an important part of major commercial office markets. Fuelled by the addition of thousands of new jobs in the last three years, the creative sector has had no choice but to increase its share of UK office space (outside of London), from 9 per cent in 2013, to 15 per cent in 2015-16 – contributing an average 1 million sq. ft. annually in the South East and core regional cities alone.

In the visual infographic designed by Savoy Stewart, we can see that the three most popular areas for commercial property take-up by creative sectors are the South East, Edinburgh and Manchester.

Highlighting, contrary to consensus, creative companies of this type are not restricted to London but can be found organically forming in every corner of the UK.

The Influence of the Millennial Market

Recent research reveals a notable characteristic of creative talent markets can be found among ‘Millennials’ in their workforces – with Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow currently holding the highest numbers of young, emerging millennials thirsty to work for a company that reflects their vision.

With eager creative employer’s keen to attract fresh talent, the importance of location and style has perhaps never been more fruitful.

Considerations such as ‘where do millennials want to live and work’ and ‘what role does property play in their lives and expectations’ will remain critical for employers, property developers and investors.

Fittingly, Savoystewart.co.uk analysed a report conducted by CBRE and selected six of the top points to illustrate what it is millennials really want from their work environment:

  • 75 per cent want to work in a city or large town location.
  • A third would be happy working in a business park or campus environment.
  • 50 per cent said they would not be willing to spend more than 30 minutes travelling to work.
  • A desire for collaborative and communal space, with fluid layouts, was a reoccurring theme.
  • An office with stimulating design voted most likely to have a positive impact on work productivity and experience.
  • Proximity to a range of external amenities, such as museums, galleries and cafés considered a high priority.

In terms of style, millennials also value innovative, enriching ‘non-corporate’ spaces – with features such as exposed services and brick work, which not only appeal to a young workforce but can reflect a brands modern identity. Buildings with history and noteworthy architecture, such as warehouses and old retail premises, are becoming increasingly popular and valuable for this reason.

CBRE Research

Bearing this in mind, what can commercial landlords do to encourage new business to take-up their space?

Strategy Tips for Commercial Landlords:

  • Take time to review the type of office space needed to attract creative industry occupiers.
  • Consider shorter leases to allow for greater levels of flexibility for smaller business and start-ups to scale up or down quickly as required.
  • Design offices with ‘built-in’ collaboration/co-working areas – depending on size, and providing choice of work environments for the individual.
  • Create a management regime that fosters community and networking events for occupiers to connect and share expertise.

Savoy Stewart’s eight Workspace Features to Attract Millennials and Gen Z

1.      Campus Culture

An environment that strikes a similarity to University has been found to create an easier transition for rising talent – with 80 per cent of new hires admitting to feeling “lost” in their move into the workforce.

2.      Technology

It’s important to implement a seamless mix of technology. Well-designed, enterprise technology will help Millennials and Gen Z perform better at work and subsequently increase productivity.

3.      Acoustic Controls

An open-plan office is counter-intuitive if everyone has their headphones in, because it’s too noisy. An inclusion of ‘quiet zones’ fit for private phone calls, small meetings and deep focus work will be an effective addition.

4.      Third Spaces

The third space ties into this idea. The third space is a place for workers to gather in an informal setting – think colour, comfort and tranquillity. An area for peaceful recharge, small collaborative meetings, or even more casual interactions and relationship building with co-workers.

5.      Fresh Food

Millennials and Gen Z value healthy foods and put their money where their mouth is. Ensuring fresh food is on-site is important to modern employees. So, if you have an on-site café, work with your food and service vendors to introduce healthy options.

6.      Natural Light

It has been said that workers with windows get an average 46 minutes more sleep per night compared to their windowless counterparts. In terms of design, avoid locating private offices and meeting rooms away from natural light to ensure your entire team benefits from the exposure.

7.      Sustainability

Design your workplace to have a low environmental and social impact. The Deloitte 2016 Millennial Survey showed that Millennials want businesses to focus more on people (employees, customers, and society), products, and purpose – and less on profits. Making your environment embody these concepts by designing for people, incorporating purpose is an excellent way to demonstrate a commitment to employees.

8.      Ergonomics

It is important to plan for ergonomic considerations, especially considering the amount of time employees spend sitting down in front of their screens. Fortunately, sit-stand height adjustable desks are growing in popularity.

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