A building with a person riding a bicycle.

As the role of the workplace evolves, new office buildings must provide workers with meaningful, immersive experiences that they cannot get while working at home or in older office buildings. How a building supports company culture, promotes wellness, and connects with the local community are the new drivers for great design and the new benchmarks for tenants.

225 Wyman, Waltham, Mass.

New buildings must be adaptable and multiuse.

To adapt to uncertainty in the market and appeal to a larger range of tenants, developers should look to create more spaces with built-in flexibility that could work for the office or other, more specialized uses, such as life sciences. Core and shell design for office buildings is increasingly allowing for a multitude of uses through greater structural loading, higher floor-to-floor heights, expanded stairwells, and a focus on back-of-house operations.

Tenants want more common spaces for socialization that lead to casual collaboration.

Open stairways, lounges, and activated lobbies in common areas are in high demand because of the way they encourage movement, facilitate social interactions, and spur casual collisions with various companies within multi-tenant buildings. On-site public gardens also provide opportunities for meetings and collaborations among tenants and neighbors.

ESG, wellness, and biophilia will attract tenants.

To respond to tenant demands for spaces that contribute to health and wellness, developers are incorporating biophilia and other WELL Building Standard elements into the core and shell. Elevated and landscaped decks and outdoor zones, operable windows for fresh air, and open stairways are the types of enhancements that can increase a building’s value and help developers position their projects as Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investments.

Hybrid work will continue to influence office building design.

We are seeing the role of the office building change to adapt to a hybrid lifestyle where workers split their time between home and the office. This means we have an opportunity to design the office with more residential and hospitality elements and find ways to incorporate more services that offer convenience and efficiency.
A large building with trees in front of it with City Hall, London in the background.
Confidential Headquarters, Chengdu, China
A train on the railway tracks.
“The best offices will be where employees will want to go, regardless of the commute.”
A large building with many windows.
Whole Foods Market East Block Office Building, Austin
The 140,000 square-foot build-to-suit office building turns the Whole Foods Market headquarters into an amenity-rich urban campus. The building’s extended floor plates help with its energy efficiency by providing protection from sun exposure. Interior public spaces promote casual collaboration and incorporate biophilic elements to enhance the employee and visitor experience. An outdoor terrace offers an alternative workplace.
A building with glass walls.
Morphable Office, Baltimore
Enhanced air filtration, cleaning, and privacy would make those employees who have not yet worked in the office more comfortable.
—Gensler U.S. Workplace Survey Fall 2021