Office space ‘better than home’ needed to attract workers back

The world still needs Grade A offices points out Cees van der Spek, public affairs and global corporate relations director of Amsterdam-headquartered developer Edge.

What is needed are very good workplaces to which people can return to work, he said, “better than when they were working at home.

“And if the location is sustainable, it’s healthy and it’s fun to be in that place I think that’s where Edge has the answer.”

Referring to the 40,000 sq m development called The Edge in Amsterdam, he said the building was “the first connected building in the world”. Completed eight years ago “that building is performing even better than we thought before,” he said.

He pointed out that about half of the firm’s work is currently refurbishment, but to the same quality as new build.

“With more technology in it and more energy efficiency than before that’s a big change but you can do that,” he said.

Increased flexibility is an important factor because that is what occupiers are now asking for, such as taking a 10-year lease plus 20% flex space for two years. The company has created Edge Workspaces for this purpose and another company called Edge Next provides building management technology to make buildings perform better.

In London the company is developing a skyscraper which utilises both concrete and timber in its structure and where, for example, wooden floors can be adapted to insert a staircase for easier circulation. Van der Spek said this gives much more flexibility in leasing, in use, in economics, in sustainability and in health. “Everybody needs something which is extremely ‘flex’ and flexibility is the keyword,” he said.

Please click on the video above to watch the full interview or listen to the podcast below.