Published by Wybo Wijnbergen on Mar 16, 2022
Most workers are no strangers to travelling long distances, enduring bad weather, congestion and delays to reach their place of work.
It was a compromise most were willing to make when traditional office working was the status quo, but no one can deny that commuting takes a toll. Studies have demonstrated that satisfaction decreases the longer a person’s commute, regardless of the mode of transport. Moreover, evidence shows that the commute experience “spills over” into how people feel and perform at work and home.
The Covid-19 pandemic provided much-needed respite for white-collar workers, with public transport discouraged in some areas and severely restricted in others. Many used the extra time gained to pursue hobbies, spend time with loved ones, and generally enjoy a more relaxed working day.
There’s no two ways about it – working patterns have changed for good. Hybrid arrangements of remote and on-site working have grown in popularity, with employees increasingly calling for flexibility. As a result, urban planners have now been given an opportunity to rethink how we organise our cities in a more sustainable way.
The pandemic has made a strong case for an increasingly popular concept – the 15-minute city – which will impact the design and distribution of office spaces in the future. Landlords should certainly take note of how this concept could impact the commercial real estate (CRE) sector, and consider what they must do to prepare.
What is the 15-minute city?
The ‘15-minute city’ is an urban concept in which most daily necessities (such as doing food shopping or visiting the doctor) can be accomplished by either walking or cycling from residents’ homes. It is thought to have been inspired by French-Colombian scientist Carlos Moreno, and is derived from historical ideas about proximity.
While by no means borne out of the pandemic, the concept has been given a second wind: workspaces have now fallen within its remit, as greater flexibility continues to redefine working patterns.
At its core, the concept of the 15-minute city advocates for essential amenities, including offices, to be available within a short distance. The benefits for workers are multi-fold. Most obviously, it reduces the time, cost and stress that usually comes with venturing into the office. But it also fosters interconnectedness and better engagement within local communities, improving connections on a personal level.
On a bigger scale, reducing commuting times is key to making cities ‘greener’. With key amenities within reach, workers will be encouraged to opt for an environmentally-friendly walk or cycle to reach their destination, rather than opting for polluting motor vehicles.
How infinitSpace is championing the 15-minute city
infinitSpace champions the 15-minute city concept. It chimes with our core values and mission, which is to have a positive impact on people and the environment. We are committed to ensuring that employees have access to high-quality workspaces, without having to sacrifice hours of their day on commuting.
Across all our projects, we also strive to reduce our environmental footprint by using space in a more efficient way. Office spaces designed by our team are multi-purpose, and their utility extends beyond just providing a desk and chair between the hours of 9am and 5pm.
Networking events, language or fitness classes, and community engagements are actively encouraged within our buildings. By hosting many different activities within one space, we are utilising existing infrastructure without creating demand for new spaces to be built.
Using commercial real estate more intelligently is a win-win. Or rather, a win-win-win. Tenants benefit, communities benefit and landlords benefit.
Connected spaces must necessarily be underpinned by sophisticated technology. Tech-enabled workspaces are the future, needed to foster connections between businesses and local communities. Enjoying building facilities should be as easy as tapping a button - tenants should be able to book meeting rooms, find team members, explore events, and order products and services through an easily accessible digital platform. This is why we offer an all-inclusive building app so that tenants can enjoy a bespoke experience and thrive in their community.
As we open more flexible workspaces, we hope to put incredible workspaces within reach of businesses and employees across Europe, reducing the pressure on public transport and our reliance on cars, while opening up a world of opportunities.
For commercial landlords, the message is clear: more emphasis needs to be placed on improving ease-of-access to amazing workspaces, and laying the digital foundations to ensure employees are well-connected to their office spaces and community. Moreover, we as an industry must ensure that people can get the most value out of their offices when they do choose to commute in.
Get in touch to learn how we can help you turn traditional office spaces into inspiring communities that facilitate strong human connections. We’re just an email away!