News & Research Archive

A Look at the Future of Office Space

Sep 24, 2007

In the next five years San Francisco will be adding an estimated three million square feet of new office space. This is the most new office space to be built in San Francisco since the 1980’s. These buildings will be built anticipating rental rates twenty to thirty percent higher than today’s rates which will be necessary to be able to successfully build economically viable buildings.


These new buildings will be far more efficient in terms of energy efficiency as a number of buildings will be built with the latest in “green technology”. Also these buildings will be a mixed use development including retail, office and residential in new ways that will fully integrate a living and working environment including more attention to detail in creating a balance of open space, activities and services necessary to create a working and living center in one building.


How will this affect the way we design an office today? If someone can live and work in the same building the effect on design and how we communicate in an office could be dramatic.


First you can envision an office where employee’s time in the office would be much more fluid. With wireless communications today, people will be able to be in the living environment and back to their working environment instantaneously In addition with the power of the cell phone, text messaging the future advancement in video text messaging and instant video conferencing and also the growth in business social networking sites such as Linkedin will eliminate the one road block that businesses had faced in the past and that is keeping their employees together unified and on the same page of what that business is all about.


Second, offices will become more as collaborative centers. This means that more open plans with social circles will be introduced. People will be getting together in person, not to work in a private office but will be working more as small and larger groups.


Today with the average employee lasting less than five years with a firm, using collaborative environments will create more stability so that as an employee leaves or joins a firm they will be faster incorporated into the business because of working in groups.


Third, offices will begin to look more fast food restaurants those traditional offices. In Korea today, the government is supposing the development of a digital city. This city will be developed as an experimental environment in which different ways to live and work will be tested. In their office environment instead of offices and workstations they future idea of offices is to have booths established no unlike a 50’s hamburger diner. These booths will include all of your technology needs. You will be able to sit with three or four others have a table to place your computer and communicate with one another. These offices are being developed as fun centers, with bright and inviting colors, and large flat screens throughout. These flat screens will be broadcasting business related content, so that employees can be updated on new products services etc. 


One way to learn more about the future of office space development is to check out, this site offers a wealth of information as well as tours to some of the most advantaged creative office environments being developed around the world.


If you are traditionalist and still believe that employees most come to the office each day and spend eight hours a day in an office to succeed be prepared for a shock, the future is just about here.



Written by: Hans Hansson


Hans Hansson is President of Starboard TCN Worldwide Real Estate Services as well as a member of the Board of Directors for TCN Worldwide Real Estate. Hans has been an active broker for over 22 years in the San Francisco Bay Area and specializes in office leasing and investments. If you have any questions or comments please email or call him at (415) 765-6897. You may also check out his website,

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