The modern world brings modern considerations when investing in property – climate change, Brexit, an ageing population – companies today need to rethink their business models and places of work to accommodate employees in order to boost productivity and growth as well as support the environment and remain good corporate citizens.
According to research from JLL, the trend of urbanisation (the increase in the proportion of people living in towns and cities) will continue to impact the property market by boosting the demand in city-centre locations. “By 2025, we expect there to be an extra 2.5 million people living in the UK’s city centres.
“As these urban populations expand, so will demand for housing, shops, leisure facilities, warehouses and office space. Real estate will need to adapt as competition for space intensifies; whether that’s offering flexible workspaces or multi-storey warehouses.”
The UK government still hold climate change high on the agenda – and have committed to a target of net zero carbon by 2050. This also means that companies must focus more on how the decisions they make are impacting society. The carbon footprint associated with a new office location (for a company) or a new residence (for an employee) will be scrutinised more closely.
As office leases shorten and tenant expectations rise – landlords are required to create more accommodating spaces, facilities, and amenities in order to stay on top of their game. Examples of this are electric vehicle charging stations, and bike storage. Additionally, employees today want healthy food options and in-house cafes and restaurants. Flexible working hours mean that employers need to make t easier for employees to spend time at work.
The rapid pace of urbanisation means that councils need new solutions to urban living. More and more people are populating the inner city. The Build-to-Rent sector is set to grow rapidly in 2020.
2020 is the year companies will invest heavily in tech and data as digital solutions gain momentum. “Technology investment will be all about improving the day-to-day employee experience,” says Jon Neale, head of UK Research at JLL.
That could include everything from sensor-based lighting systems to using workplace apps to book meeting rooms. Such features can also be good for companies’ sustainability goals and their finances. As Neale says: “Crucially, these changes will also drive performance or efficiency benefits.”