Robots, holograms and healthy buildings coming to your workplace

Tuesday, 19 December, 2017

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There has been a renewed focus on wellness and sustainability in the commercial property sector, with Cbus Property studying international building trends.

The company is embracing wellness and sustainability movements to create healthy ‘hang-outs’ for millennial workers and ensuring its buildings are adaptable to these latest workplace concepts.

Long stairwells punctuated by meeting lounges, robot concierges, meetings attended by hologram and an abundance of casual gathering spaces with a notable sparsity of desks could all be the norm for office spaces in the not-so-distant future.

“Robots and holograms will transform our working environments in the way that virtual concierges and videoconferencing have changed buildings in the past 20 years,” said Cbus Property Chief Executive Adrian Pozzo.

“These innovations may seem far off, but as the property cycle works far in advance, these are sci-fi ideas that the industry is already thinking about.”

The blurring lines between home and work have been leading office transformation, and it is expected that this will continue into the future.

With millennials reinventing the workplace in their image and predicted to comprise 42% of Australian workers by 2020, their preference for casual, collaborative spaces, desks of no fixed address (hot-desking) and impromptu hang-outs rather than formal meeting rooms have revolutionised the office.

“Office layout is now all about accessibility and creativity and emulating the comforts of the home environment with quiet zones and nooks for collaboration,” said Pozzo.

Gone is the cavernous ‘mahogany row’ of offices and bleak darkened corridors that once dominated the corporate environment.

“Fresh air and natural light are now paramount for a health-conscious workforce who are also environmentally aware and want their offices to minimise their impact on the planet with sustainability a key concern,” he said.

Cbus Property’s landmark 720 Bourke Street office building that serves as Medibank’s headquarters was recently boosted by the addition of a community garden and bike repair facilities, which helped it achieve the prestigious Gold WELL rating from the International Well Building Institute for the core and shell of the building.

Cbus Property forecasts that wellness and sustainability considerations are likely to continue to transform every square metre of commercial property.

Previously neglected office zones such as the traditionally grey and dreary fire escape stairwells are getting a fresh coat of paint and even some art on the walls to inspire some stair-climbing exercise.

Even the old office swivel chair’s tenure is less certain as standing desks are a preferred option for the health-conscious, while there are treadmill workstations for the very fittest.

As millennials move into the executive ranks, the end-of-trip facilities they seek at their corporate HQ will be a concierge-staffed location to shower after the bike rather than car commute and a place to work out before logging on for the day.

The co-working spaces that were once the province of internet start-ups and young freelancers are now being integrated into office design by large corporations who have brought down the walls and done away with the hierarchy of the fixed segregated offices of old.

Melbourne is leading the trend towards co-working spaces, laying claim to 56% of the 239 known co-working hub spaces across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

“More than ever before, commercial property developers need to design and construct healthy and sustainable offices with all the perks modern workers are seeking in order to lure and retain top tenants,” Pozzo said.

Image credit: ©

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