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Forget the pandemic, it’s the Gen Z that will transform London offices

COVID 19 has been a catalyst for fundamental changes to the way office space is being used. Hybrid working is here to stay so is the office where employees can collaborate, innovate and upskill with colleagues. Health and wellbeing considerations are also a central component to new development plans.

However, the pandemic is not the only reason ushering those changes. Generation Z (Gen Z), very different than Millennials, will soon become the populous generation on earth, with more than one-third of the world’s population counting themselves as Gen Z. The impact of their entry will have swift and profound effects on the type of offices we occupy as they have an entirely unique perspective on careers and how to define success in life and in the workforce.

According to the Deloitte Global 2022 Gen Z and Millennial Survey, nearly two in five say they have rejected a job because it did not align with their values. Meanwhile, those who are satisfied with their employers’ societal and environmental impact, and their efforts to create a diverse and inclusive culture, are more likely to want to stay with their employer for more than five years.

Tenants and landlords are increasingly committing to ambitious ESG targets, which is redefining what type of offices will be built and occupied in the future. According to Deloitte London Office Crane Survey Summer 2022, 79% of landlords are working to make all of their office developments net zero by 2034, not to mention the amenities and fit outs that will support hybrid way of working and mental health.

London office developers and landlords are making efforts to lure workers with the high quality of the working environment, for example providing cinema rooms, spinning studios, bars, restaurants and roof terraces. Some are enticing more people back into central London by offering discounts at local bars and restaurants, and wellbeing and music events. Those new initiatives are designed to remind people that the office is more than just a desk and a screen and that there are elements that cannot be replicated when working at home.

The race for talent is intrinsic to an organisation's success and sustainability. An office, as both an outward representation of a brand and a hub for staff, is a key part of that equation. In the competitive labour market, and with office costs continuing to be a fraction of wage bills, businesses will be increasingly looking for high-quality office space with the right ESG credentials and top amenities in order to attract and retain staff, increasingly those emerging from Gen Z.