Office design must provide for worker needs, says JLL

Office developers need to focus on 'welfare space' for staff, said JLL. Picture: Neil Hanna

Office developers need to focus on 'welfare space' for staff, said JLL. Picture: Neil Hanna

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Edinburgh’s office market is set to cash in on the digital technology revolution but larger occupiers may struggle to find suitable space, property experts have predicted.

It is also likely that the rise of the tech, media and disruptive digital industries will impact on building design and function, according to research from property consultancy JLL.

The firm’s outlook for the sector comes as occupier take-up in the capital racked up its strongest performance for almost 15 years during 2015.

JLL said that some 950,000 square feet of office space was transacted during the year, up 8.6 per cent from the previous year’s total. The figure is the highest since 2001 and significantly above the five-year average of 650,000sq ft.

Last month, property consultancy Savills estimated that about one million square feet of office space would be taken up by businesses in Edinburgh before the year was out.

That estimate included some 150,000sq ft under offer that was expected to complete before the end of December.

READ MORE: Capital office take-up leaps over 1 million sq ft in 2015

While the city’s resurgent financial services sector continued to drive much of the transaction activity, its fast-growing tech industry played an increasingly significant role, experts at JLL noted.

The “hotspots” in the market were in the sub-5,000sq ft and over-30,000sq ft size categories, including a major 59,000sq ft pre-let by fantasy sports developer FanDuel at the Quartermile 4 development.

Ben Reed, regional director at JLL, said: “Building and workplace design is fast emerging as a critical tool to support broader strategic objectives around talent attraction and retention.

“The next wave of development in Edinburgh will focus on providing ample welfare space for staff, including shower, changing and drying facilities for cyclists.”

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