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Can commercial tenancies facilitate workplace flexibility?

Looking beyond the standard rental agreements of the past, Space&CO. are opting to bring options to the table previously unseen for office tenants.

Can commercial tenancies facilitate workplace flexibility?

Rejoice! The days of the rigid, inflexible working space are no more. As more of our commercial buildings are becoming comfortable, flexible places to attend the 9-5, there are plenty of companies that are looking to take this to even higher levels, through smartly-devised rental agreements and interiors that encourage connection between colleagues, office neighbours and fellow building occupants.

The nature of commercial contracts within this new wave of buildings is reminiscent of venue hiring as opposed to a rental agreement. Single workers can hire out a space for a day, week, month or year, dependent on their working arrangements. As a business grows, it’s owners can look to occupy more floorspace within a building, with the assurances that they can use the space that they need with the added safety of a no lock-in contract.

Space&Co are at the coalface of the changing nature of flexible working spaces. Backed by GPT Group, the company creates spaces where businesses are primed to thrive. Offering day passes through to private office memberships, their buildings offer premium end-of-trip facilities, 24/7 access and are cleaned daily.

Space&Co’s new building, located at 32 Smith Street in Parramatta, stands at the Northern gateway to Sydney’s second CBD. The building capitalises on both the existing and planned infrastructure put in place by the Berejiklian Government, and will play a role in luring blue chip tenants to have a business presence in the region.

6-Star Green Star architecturally designed development offers state-of-the-art facilities and is fitted out by Schiavello and Jardin for sophisticated comfort. A deeply respectful collaboration with the Darug Tribe, the local Indigenous peoples, brings true harmony to the space.

GPT’s Development Manager, Lachlan Clancy, says the building accounts for the evolution of tenant arrangements within commercial buildings, to bring practicality and flexibility to the fore.

“Tenants are seeking the ultimate level of flexibility within their office, mainly due to the pandemic,” he says.

“Smaller tenants develop a sense of belonging and ownership within the building, which can result in larger direct leases in the long term as their businesses grow, while committed tenants have the opportunity to utilise Space&Co. to flex up and down as they need, whether that be accommodating project teams when they are required, or to better utilise their own on floor space by removing the need for large meeting rooms which are generally considered lower use spaces.

“The Meeting Place by Space&Co. allows for these meeting rooms to be removed (reducing rent being paid for underutilised space) in their office design, and can be used on an as needed basis lower in the tower.”

The rise and rise of the third working space as a circuit breaker from the home or office has become a majorly important piece within our office buildings. As our attention spans continue to grow shorter, we need an additional place to maintain motivation levels, and these spaces most certainly provide that. Cafes and coffee shops, breakout rooms and libraries all fall under the third space umbrella, and more often than not, are being incorporated into the new wave of office buildings.

As GPT’s National Director, Flexible Workspace Solutions, Shey Hooper tells us, 32 Smith Street is home to a range of spaces to maximise attention span, thus minimising a lack of productivity.

“32 Smith Street provides an abundance of space choices and has spearheaded the transformation from ‘sit and work’ to ‘interact and collaborate’,” she says.

“Personal workstations and private offices have long been part of the fabric of Space&Co. – essential to support businesses to thrive, these spaces represent the ‘first space’. The ‘second spaces’ are the meeting and workshop spaces which have always been critical, but accelerated working trends over the past twelve months have seen these catapulted to new heights, and have been delivered in abundance at 32 Smith Street through The Meeting Place by Space&Co.

“Finally, Space&Co.’s design has woven the third spaces into the building expertly, ensuring occupants can work within the informal, unassigned casual spaces to exude freedom, creativity and spontaneous moments.”

GPT collaborated with the Darug community to inform the visual experience with the building’s urban room, with the community leading the co-design process.

“This cultural immersion continues into Space&Co. with inspiration drawn from the Parramatta river and brought to life via artwork throughout The Meeting Place which celebrates the dual uses of the river by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people,” explains Hooper.

“As a property company, we are continuing to learn and embed best practice, local cultural protocols and principles into our development and operational practices that best represent the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which our assets operate.

“Acknowledging Country and Community is a simple and meaningful way we can recognise, respect and celebrate culture. Having the Darug community share with us their language and the importance behind an Acknowledgement to Country was a beautiful exchange in cultural sharing.”

32 Smith Street is set to become one of the most sustainable commercial office towers in the Parramatta CBD with its environmentally shaped shading system, landscaped external roof terraces and balconies and publicly accessible urban room. The building cites many modernist architecture character traits, such as a glass facade and an atrium bathed in natural light, while drawing inspiration from its surrounding landscape, seen with the hylomorphic shaped louvres and a low iron glass façade that reflects the river.

Flexibility between the home and work office has become a non-negotiable of sorts moving forward. The events of the past few years have most certainly brought the conversation forward, but you certainly felt as if it was coming. Giving businesses and their employees the freedom and flexibility opens up a world of new parameters that will equip them for the new age of work. With companies like Space&CO. at the forefront of this change, the agility of our workspaces are only going to continue to improve over time.

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