Trend Report October Office Issue: Physical Spaces Bring People Together

Managers need to stay abreast of trends, but let’s face it: Work life as we once knew it is gone forever. What’s next is a matter of debate among today’s business leaders.

Events have accelerated so quickly over the past few years it’s difficult to keep up.

Employee preferences have inextricably changed. Flexibility and mobility have replaced standardized routines and once cutting-edge in-office perks as the top priorities for workers. Meanwhile, leaders are grappling with the productivity and workplace culture implications of widespread, long-term distributed teams.

Few of us were familiar with the term “remote work,” until Covid hit, pushing offices worldwide to adopt at-home work schedules. These trends have already generated minor workplace alterations, like Work-from-Work Wednesdays and one Zoom, all Zoom policies, that try to impart some semblance of intentional design to this new way of working. Zoom, WebEx, Teams, and other virtual meeting platforms appear likely to be a permanent part of our working lives.

Time will more significantly define the future of work and physical office spaces. As first-time Trend report contributor, Sandra Sarabia discusses in The Future of Office Space, “Studies have long shown frequent in-person interactions lead to commitment, support and cooperation among people on teams.”

Specifically, new design methodologies, updated communication, collaborative best practices, and novel operational imperatives will help resolve the uncertainty about the future of work in an office.

Thanks to Kent Ahrens, MAI, who brings his appraisal experience to some local trends happening in building conversions to the discussion in Changes Afoot. Collectively, interest in “agile workspace” strategies has increased by more than 500% since the pandemic disrupted workplace operations. Employees should expect that the outcomes from these efforts will be as multifaceted as they are unique. We’ll have to wait-see though on what will become of all those vacant call centers around town. Maybe next year will tell.

As we return to more office-based work, employees have demanded, and employers have recognized the value of flexible schedules. Fundamental Changes in Tucson’s Office Market by David Volk addresses more changes from the national and local office market noting small and mid-size office values in Tucson have seen a 30% increase in value over the past three years.

Matt Thrasher of Thrasher Law Offices, PLLC, explains the broad trends for Coworking Space challenges and benefits in Post-Pandemic Coworking Spaces Thrive in Tucson from his legal perspective. While Ryan Harris walks us through the various Non-Traditional Office Space Trends in Tucson that he has firsthand experience as owner of Intelligent Offices in Tucson.

Rick Kleiner, MBA, with Cushman & Wakefield | PICOR reminds us that reaching our ‘new normal’ employees’ memories are long, and their sluggish return to an open floor plan may be influenced by the workplace upset which we all experienced during the pandemic. Read Rick’s insights in Heading Back to the Office?

Based onThe Future of Work Survey 2022 conducted by JLL in July” with 1,095 decision-makers in 13 markets, Ryan Bartos of JLL makes a persuasive argument in Hybrid Is Here to Stay… But Office Remains Critical.

It’s exciting to hear 305,000 square feet of new office and pedagogy improvements are under construction at the University of Arizona. Ralph Banks takes us for a tour of things to come within the next 12-18 months in his piece University of Arizona: Embracing Post-Covid Pedagogy through a Design and Construction Lens.

Every grey cloud has a silver lining, and there have been a few benefits to the pandemic. Perhaps one is that employers and employees create new, productive ways to collaborate, share knowledge, and exchange ideas. No longer are workers married to the concept that they have one desk in one office. Instead, they are comfortable working with team members at an adaptive desk area that can grow or convert to different layouts. Individuals can adjust the desk’s height, sit in an ergonomically correct chair, and collaborate with colleagues for a day or two. Then, they might repeat the process in another part of the building with different people.

Gary Heinfeld, CPA, CCIM is a numbers guy, and walks us through the numbers in his article Office Real Estate by The Numbers showing the office sector stabilizing for Tucson.

For employees and business leaders looking to get ahead of the curve, here are the top office trends that will shape our work lives in 2022-2023. The year ahead promises to answer some questions about the future of work while creating new ones as our professional lives continue to change and adapt to shifting trends and operational realities.

Special thanks to all our contributors and our Trend report team: Patti van Leer, Michael Rossmann, Melissa Vucijevic and Jack Paddock for making this issue possible. We start work right away on our November extra special issue that will profile notable Tech and Smart City Technologies Start-Ups!

And thank you to our readers for your continued support. As always, we appreciate your feedback and welcome your comments.

Karen Schutte,
Trend report
Managing Editor

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