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FEATURE


EVENT ROUND-UP: TECHNOLOGYWITHIN WEBINAR


Workspace technology provider technologywithin recently held a webinar on how landlords can maximise the profitability of their city-based portfolios, with the company’s Richard Morris hosting property and proptech experts Derrick Dickinson, Will Kinnear, and Rory Young. Here are some of the highlights.


Taking place at the tail-end of last year, technologywithin’s webinar panel discussed the challenges posed by COVID-19, the evolution of office design and the rise of joint venture agreements. Also in the spotlight, was the premium placed on ‘smart’ buildings and the potential consequences of 5G.


What have landlords taken from their


experience of the pandemic so far? Richard Morris: A big take away from my own conversations with our clients at technologywithin, and as Will Kinnear, Director at HEWN, reiterated through our webinar, was that the benefits for landlords of talking to tenants has really been reinforced by the pandemic.


There’s an appreciation that tenants may need to be treated differently in these uncertain times – many will have a very genuine inability to make their usual payments. The sector has seen landlords and tenants putting together new payment plans, which is a great show of cooperation.


“Flexible office design will revolve around technological capacity,


ensuring spaces offer, for example, sufficient connectivity and cloud-


storage facilities to bring disparate workforces together virtually.”


The pandemic has also underlined the importance of technology to tenant satisfaction, which landlords rightly care about. Of course, landlords also care about tenants paying rent, and tech can facilitate both. Offering space which is properly equipped from the first day will encourage tenants to move in quickly, which is key in this competitive market. Landlords all over the country are getting involved in tech, so the possibilities for the post- pandemic CRE sector are very exciting.


How has office design changed to help people work in a safe environment and


38 | TOMORROW’S FM


what changes can we expect in how flexible office space is designed in the


wake of lockdown? Derrick Dickinson: Safety is probably top of tenants’ priorities right now and looking ahead to the end of lockdown: they want their own bubbles, with their own meeting rooms and breakout areas. From a design perspective, this means reducing the number of desks, which isn’t necessarily a problem when people are working remotely. So, we’re seeing fewer desks, but it’s about safety rather than cost-cutting.


“Tenants want all-inclusive bundles, offering convenience as well as


transparency about what they are getting for their money.”


These changes are about adapting rather than scaling back. Tenants don’t want to compromise on the space they’re paying for, so landlords should fit it out with what they expect: meeting rooms, breakout areas, and, crucially, the technology to support remote workers. Flexible office design will revolve around technological capacity, ensuring spaces offer, for example, sufficient connectivity and cloud-storage facilities to bring disparate workforces together virtually.


How are joint ventures, management agreements, and the move towards ‘space as service’ changing the face


of the CRE sector? Will Kinnear: The shift towards space as a service has been growing for some time now. For landlords, it’s no longer a case of ‘if you build it, they will come’, as just providing the space itself isn’t enough anymore. Tenants want all-inclusive bundles, offering convenience as well as transparency about what they are getting for their money. Tenants are happy to pay premium to have everything built into one because they can then budget for that, which has been a basis for flexible workspace since day one.


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