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New office designs show the value of being social

June 19, 2018

Law firm Thynne and Macartney has celebrated 125 years by investing in a $2m fitout of their new Brisbane offices. Photo: Apollo Property Group

As employees demand more from their work environments, office fitouts are changing to reflect more of what workers want.

Many are looking for a more convenient and enjoyable work life, and this has lead to companies offering more than just the standard office layout.

Savills Queensland office leasing state director John McDonald said employees wanted end-of-trip facilities such as showers and lockers, as well as the opportunity to mix with their peers during and after work.

“Workers are demonstrating that they want to eat lunch with their colleagues rather than eat alone, and they want to spend time in outdoor office lounges and cafes rather than at their desks,” he said.

“Offices are becoming a centre for social activity and it is important for our industry to recognise and embrace this shift.”

Along with a focus on office aesthetics, special attention was being placed on reactivating workspaces to promote staff productivity, Mr McDonald said.

Business was beginning to recognise that vibrant design encouraged collaboration, with better work-life balance in turn delivering better output and efficiencies.

“We are also finding that what has been perceived as a ‘prestige address’ is playing a part in the [employee] decision-making process as well,” he said.

“Employees are being drawn to major or central CBD addresses, which boast stature and convenience while renewal precincts such as Brisbane Quarter and Queens Wharf are also becoming well sought after.”

Caden Office leasing director David Prosser said landlords had refurbished and repositioned their assets to improve their competitive advantage.

However, with more than 90 spec fitouts in Brisbane completed and available for lease at the moment, competition to secure tenants was fierce, he said.

“Landlords are often increasing their budgets for spec fitouts in order to improve the overall finish to give their tenancies the point of difference they need,” Mr Prosser said.

As well as focusing on tenant amenities, some landlords were targeting serviced offices and co-working providers as tenants.

“Serviced-office providers can act as a great incubator for landlords, as they offer flexible short-term space for tenants within the building that may need to expand at short notice,” he said.

“Furthermore, tenants that are growing out of serviced offices will often look at ‘direct’ space within the building when they are ready to move out of serviced offices.”

However, with ample supply on the market, some landlords were offering incentives such as free gym memberships to prospective tenants.

JLL Queensland leasing director James Montague said big businesses were focused on attracting and retaining good staff, by offering a top-of-the-range work environment.

Employees were now expecting high-quality end-of-trip facilities, ground floor food and beverage, “third spaces” such as breakout, green and lobby meeting areas, and even concierge services, he said.

Law firm marks 125 years with modern collaborative fit-out

The company's new offices. Photo: Apollo Property Group The company’s new offices. Photo: Apollo Property Group

A Brisbane law firm has celebrated 125 years in business by creating a cutting-edge work environment for its 80 staff.

Thynne and Macartney recently unveiled its $2 million fitout, courtesy of the Apollo Property Group, on level 32 of 123 Eagle Street in Brisbane’s CBD.

The firm had hoped its new 1389-square-metre riverside address would better meet the needs of its employees.

“Our need for a new office was two-fold – we had outgrown our previous space, and additionally, wanted our office to be a place where staff are collaborating and socialising across their respective divisions,” Thynne and Macartney general manager Ashley Lamb said.

“It’s well known that those in the legal profession often work long hours, so our brief to Apollo Property Group was to design a functional space that could host client-facing activities while appealing to our staff – playing host to internal celebrations, breakout spaces and comforts for our team while they are at work.”

Apollo Property Group construction manager Ashley Dawson said there was an increasing emphasis on office fitouts with collaborative working spaces and breakout rooms for socialising.

“This brief required us to create different zones and areas in the office with functional benefits, such as a boardroom that can also play host to a staff breakfast or Friday afternoon drinks – serving both client and worker,” he said.

“Additionally, many professionals are now looking for spaces to collaborate with peers away from the desk – with options to experience alternative working environments, boosting creativity and teamwork.”


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