January 17, 2023
GLAS and Flight to Quality as The Strategy for Post-Pandemic
The pandemic has been a turning point for architecture. The workforce changed, consumer behavior changed, and modern architecture has been going through a reevaluation. All of these factors lead to the most palpable evidence of the massive overhaul: office spaces.
With the “new normal” presenting challenges to the industry to adapt broadly, businesses and companies are maximizing and modifying spaces to adapt to the needs of the time. But part of the maximization is putting less emphasis on spaciousness and more prioritization on their quality. This presents a shift of perception for architecture, highlighting the necessity for “flight to quality”.
“Flight to quality” originated as a financial term of a market practice of investors selling high-risk investments and buying safer investments with gradual returns. The phenomenon has been used to describe the response of shifting employee and workforce patterns that lean on remote or hybrid setups, caused by the pandemic.
With the shift of employee behavior towards hybrid work, businesses and companies are assessing the functions of office spaces. Factor in the performance of the economy and the management of the real estate market in the “new normal”, and it is reasonable for companies to pursue for “flight to quality”.
Whether or not how this will affect architecture, it is a direction that many leaders are taking. Likewise, architecture has to intuitively adapt to the demands of the period, but the changes should lead to succeeding the highest and the soundest quality of their design, all for the users’ benefit.
But even with the momentum shifting to “flight to quality”, it does not mean the integrity of architecture should be compromised, nor be altered. It only means that architects, designers, developers and engineers should consider the crucial areas where they can be flexible to achieve a sound strategy for architecture.
Offices decreasing their spaces is not a cause for alarm, but a signal of the public shifting their perception of physical spaces. With users more critical about the built environment and public safety, businesses and companies reassigned their spaces with a more holistic approach that prioritizes their employees’ health, convenience and wellbeing. Tighter health protocols and measures are one of the top priorities. But spaces that prioritize social distancing, mental wellness and benign ambiance allow its users to adapt flexibly and contribute to the experience of a secure workplace.
Another crucial factor to consider is the current perception of workplaces serving as a collaborative spaces. Without a doubt, hybrid work has become a reliable setup for workers, and its prominence will continue for several industries. Thus, office spaces need to shift its energy to create stimulating environments and setups where people can operate, create and collaborate. This also includes redefining the office culture. At a time when in-person work becomes contentious, reimagining office spaces drives the importance of building spaces “that people will be encouraged to go back to”.
Speaking of people, while designing is vital to reaching a quality office space, the employees are part of that conversation. During such a critical market, it is imperative for businesses and companies to listen, interact and empathize to their workers. It is not on the means of satisfying their demands but on the grounds of seeing their point of view to get to an agreement. And importantly, they need to accomplish the factors that protect and stimulate enthusiasm for their employees. Many factors fall into appeasing to this demographic.
One of the major ones is the employee experience. A company’s brand is as much reflected on the workspaces as it is on their products or services. Thus, it needs to reflect on the interior design, the workstations, the technologies being used and the ambiance that employees and visitors absorb on their arrival. Take into account the sustainable features, the cutting-edge amenities and the other perks that reflect on their vision and virtues. A collaborative, interactive atmosphere that can adapt from tranquil environment to sociable adds to an employee’s preference.
Amenities cater to the most immediate needs for their users. They play an important role for Class A office spaces that build up to be community-friendly spaces. Several offices offer packages with perks like fitness facilities, game rooms, urban gardens and upbeat design in their spaces. The more convenient their placement, the more quality goes to the office experience.
Fulfilling that experience is the surrounding community that accommodates to the needs of the people. They can range from shopping to dining, from recreational to residential, from leisure to entertainment, and from malls to museums. Thus, the “flight to quality” approach extends to high-end hospitality found inside the office and out, as well as its strategic location and urban surroundings.
The important factor to consider is that such amenities are not simply a marketing ploy but a motivator and a driver for the community and culture in the building. And design-wise, since these facilities are likely powered by renewable sources and sustainable systems, they can lessen the use of energy and other raw materials, contributing to a cleaner, greener environment.
One of the biggest challenges of bringing back workers to the office space is a heavy reevaluation of office-bound work. With retention getting difficult, renovation is one of the safest solutions. Concretely, it means placing existing capital to invest on their talents and their facilities, and improve on them. In terms of the design, business and companies can improve through their in-house assets, like going touchless with automated technologies, moving to paperless formats for transactions and documentations, and transforming several areas for socializing. Technological advancement is a high encouragement.
But renovation is more than just refurbishing the spaces or replacing the existing technology; it is the reevaluation of a company’s values and vision, improving its image while staying true to its core business. It truly starts in the office culture cultivated. Better yet, they can bring capital to their core values. If the office has green initiatives, let every corner be biophilic or contain green-based promotion. Once business and companies put more investment in evolving their facilities, growing their talents and mounting their principles, talent retention can be succeeded.
With the public becoming critical of health emergencies and extreme weather, sustainability is key to a well-founded structure, as well as a secure workplace. Buildings that hold net-zero energy use sustainable features like low-emission facilities, energy-saving appliances, renewable sources, recycling systems and firm engineering. They not only contribute to the surrounding premises; they also add value to the competitive real-estate market. With their high-quality design, their resilience is a priced asset. These assets guarantee that an office building and its tenants utilize less energy and rely on environmentally-friendly alternatives.
For green buildings and green offices, sustainability is crucial to adapt. The facilities themselves help them adapt to crises, raising the value and protection of their properties. With “flight to quality” improving the quality of the office experience, sustainable features help retain that experience for the demanding workforce. And decarbonizing the built environment prompts a safe working environment that can be relied on. But sustainability also acknowledges the role that the population, especially for businesses, has in securing the built environment. Thus, sustainable features help promote adherence to green living.
Future Forward: ASYA and Glas’ Game-Changing Sustainable Design, featured on BluPrint Magazine
The blending of technology and architecture has come a long way over the centuries. For other countries, green architecture is already the norm. In architecture’s most recent progression, new designs that have been strongly influenced by the inherent responsibility of being kinder to nature have slowly been taking the reins, combining form and function with sustainability. In the past, business structures only seemed to focus on creating buildings that were all for human benefit and simply for the sake of having an office space. Without sustainability in mind or the practice of maintaining a green approach, these buildings almost ignored the heavy environmental impact structures can leave. As the team in ASYA believes, modernity however requires flexibly bending to changes in nature which now asks for a wider range of sustainable structures that can last future generations.