What will the office market look like in 2023?

Office Market Trends For 2023

Wow! Where has the year gone….! It doesn’t seem like a year since I was writing my thoughts and predictions on the trends that were incoming for 2022. Well, here we are, at the end of another year, and we’re back again to look ahead into what 2023 is likely to bring for the office market!

Despite the challenges we’ve experienced in 2022, we’ve also largely seen something of what resembles ‘a return to normal’, with restrictions lifted and the social element returning that we’d all been missing!

The death of the office hasn’t materialised; on the contrary, the return of the office has gained momentum! This time last year, we weren’t sure how 2022 was going to look with what appeared to be another strain of Covid rearing its head, thankfully these concerns soon disappeared and we’re now confident and positive going into 2023!

Here we take a look at some predictions heading into 2023, both for the office market as a whole, and then drilling into some specific design trends that are likely to grow throughout the year:

Overall Market Predictions for 2023:

  • Ongoing increase in office usage – Many leaders we’ve spoken to throughout the year, alongside recognising the benefits of remote working, are now realising some of the negative implications that lack of in-person collaboration has been having on their culture, and indeed in trying to retain talent. With leaders from large corporates such as Goldman Sachs and Twitter taking a strong stance, although somewhat controversial, on getting people back into the office, I would anticipate many employers will follow suit on implementing a return to the office on a wider scale. The majority will not insist on a full-time return; however, I think we will see many implement policies to enforce a minimum number of days that people should be in the office in any given week or month – it’ll be interesting to see how this pans out!
  • Grade A space – We will likely see an ever increasing and ongoing demand for Grade A, quality space that reflect the ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) targets and policies companies are setting. One interesting area to look out for is whether challenges will start to appear in the supply side of this type of space towards the end of the year, or maybe more moving into 2024 – due to the lack of new development projects with ongoing inflationary issues making projects unviable with current rental returns.
  • Increased supply and demand for ‘grey space’ – The term ‘grey space’ refers to office accommodation that is now surplus to the requirements of a tenant. There has been increased availability of this space as companies have made decisions to give up some of their space due to new hybrid working policies, this has been particularly seen amongst large tech companies in Dublin in recent times. Demand for this type of space also appears to be growing, particularly from companies growing out of co-working spaces, who view it as a stepping stone to their own traditionally leased space. It still gives companies the flexibility of shorter lease terms whilst they continue to build out their teams and formalise plans for what they need longer term. It also has been attractive for companies who are unwilling to take a risk in investing in a fitout project with the uncertainty there’s been in recent years. Like anything though, it has its pros and cons, each option just needs weighed up based on specific business requirements at any given time.
  • Change recognition – We are and will continue seeing an increased recognition from business leaders of why there’s the need for change in how the office is used. Many are looking to facilitate the change to a collaborative, flexible working environment in view of keeping ahead of the curve with the latest trends in view of continuing to attract and retain talent and to encourage people to come into the office more. If anything, we’ve seen many people say this year that they think the office is more important now than it ever has been, and I don’t expect this view to change any time soon; in fact, more likely that it will only grow and become more recognised amongst business leaders throughout 2023.

Design Trends for 2023:

Sustainable Choices – this has been a notable trend in the last couple of years and none more so than in discussions with clients throughout 2022, ensuring sustainable choices are being made throughout the design process. One key element within this is the re-using and upcycling of existing furniture products, or worst case, ensuring the sustainable recycling of furniture that is no longer usable. Other items we’ve been designing in to some of our projects includes carbon neutral carpet tiles, through to meeting room chairs made from recycled plastic bottles! Building to LEED and BREAMM certification standards is also something that we’re seeing more of and what clients are discussing and this is certainly something we believe will continue to gain momentum in 2023 and the years to come.

Technology – investment into video conferencing and high-quality AV solutions is a trend we believe that we will see more of going into 2023 to allow for the ongoing adaptation to a hybrid working style, to allow for more seamless communication between those working from the office and those working remotely.

Acoustic Control – with more online meetings and the office being used as a hub for collaboration, socialisation and meetings, we are noticing an increase in the number of companies that tell us that acoustics have become more of an issue as a result. We see more investment and time going into the design element initially to ensure these challenges are minimised as best possible throughout fitouts in 2023 and beyond.

Modular furniture – with employees wanting more flexibility in their working styles and companies wanting more flexibility within their real estate lease arrangements, the layout and furnishing of the space must also offer flexibility to suit ever-changing needs! One way to provide more flexibility is to design in modular furniture, as opposed to fixed furniture items, that are more adaptable and can be relocated should business or space requirements change. We see this continuing to develop and be incorporated more and more in designs throughout 2023, as a more flexible and sustainable solution.

Is your office ready for 2023?

The outlook remains upbeat going into 2023, with significant change ahead for many office spaces in the coming years, and it’s important we keep close to the market demands and listen to what people are looking for and designing accordingly. We’d be delighted to hear your thoughts for the office market looking ahead, or would be more than happy to discuss any challenges you may be facing moving into 2023, please feel free to reach out!


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