KC Office Market Outlook

It is no question that the pandemic has changed the way we’ve gone about working.  While the work does not go away, the way in which we operate is evolving. In today’s world, we are seeing the trend to focus in on the quality of space, rather than the quantity of space for employees. Our spaces are used to bring teams together to collaborate, as opposed to being a place to go to be heads down focused.

The Kansas City Business Journal interviewed AREA’s Tim Schaffer on what he forecasts for the office market to see in the coming years. Here is his take:

•  We are seeing many companies going with a “remote first” strategy- where working remotely is the primary option for most or all employees. This strategy isn’t new, it’s been exercised by sales force organizations for years, but is now bleeding out into other industries. Those that are employing a remote first workplace envision their space more as a club house. While heads down work is done out of the office, companies still need an office to meet clients, recruit, train, collaborate and celebrate success to support and enhance their existing culture.

•  In the past we were always looking for companies adding employees and expanding; but today, just because you are adding employees doesn’t mean you need more space. Although we are still looking for expanding companies, we are also catering to those companies that are getting smaller. A 50,000 square foot company may only need 10,000 square feet today and as a result they can’t put the same meaningfully scaled amenities within their space that they once had. Thus, they are looking for the building to do more for them than just provide space for desks. An example of this is at Lightwell, where we designed an ecosystem that provides all of those environments that use to be within a tenant space, outside their space within the building. This includes large training rooms, and breakout private conference rooms, all equipped with video conferencing technology for small groups up to the entire company that may want to have a sales meeting with their office in another city; a tenant lounge with a pool table and stereo system for after work team building; and full building Wi-Fi so that employees can work anywhere in the complex. Food and beverage options within the building is our last piece, which will be in place this summer. Made in KC will be opening their coffee shop on the first floor and Strang Hall will have three chefs serving every day with a full bar for after work meet ups. Our strategy was in place pre-pandemic, so we didn’t pivot to meet this change. The world pivoted, and we happened to be in the right place to help companies deliver a one-of-a-kind environment for their employees, one that increases value to each employee even as their footprint grows smaller.

•  As we make our way through this year into mid-2023, we are going to see a clear path of everyone’s plans moving forward. There will be a lot more moving around of tenants and finding quality buildings to reduce footprint but still have that great environment for their employees.

To read the full article in the Business Journal, click here.