Office Space Forecast For 2015 Shows Need For Creative Space Planning
Office space news in Houston is topping many lists. According to the new Urban Land Institute Report, with more than 17 million square feet of office space expected to open over the next few years, Houston led the list of markets with the most construction volume relative to existing inventory. Much of the construction activity is tied to the energy industry and includes office buildings that Shell Oil, ExxonMobil, BHP, Phillips 66, and Noble Energy will occupy once completed.
According to Colliers Q3 2014 Market Report, the citywide average rental rate increased 1.6% from $26.52 to $26.94 per SF over the quarter. The average Central Business District rental rate increased 3.3% from $36.35 to $37.56 per SF, while the average suburban rental rate increased 0.1% from $24.95 to $24.98 per SF over the quarter.
Due to the increases in office space rents, cubicles in Houston will continue to see companies focus on getting more productivity and efficiency out of an office space. One way efficiency can be realized is with a denser office layout. Office cubicles and work spaces will continue to shrink. At ROSI Office Systems, we’ve seen an average of 11 people per 1000 square feet in the Houston, Austin and San Antonio cubicles market. Typically, a call center budgets 80-100 square feet per person. However, ROSI has designed highly-functional cubicle and open workstation layouts that were up to 17 people per 1,000 square feet, on average.
This trend toward denser office space makes space planning an even more critical piece of the office design puzzle, especially when coupled with an open office concept. Imagine 17 people within a 1,000 square foot space with no privacy or quiet space? You want your employees to remain productive within that smaller office space so thinking about sound absorption, light, ergonomics and storage are pushed to the forefront of the design. It’s the little things that can add up to a productive environment in a more concentrated and denser office space. We wrote about some ideas here to help you re-think your current space plan.
In addition, adding some quiet spaces throughout the office space gives employees options. With wireless connectivity employees can work virtually anywhere, so there is ample opportunity to create smaller workstations or privacy nooks where an employee can go when quiet is needed. No phones–just a laptop and quiet.
2015 will see an ever-increasing focus on energy costs for offices in the Houston, San Antonio and Austin areas. If you’re seeing incremental increases in utility expenses, it may be time to consider moving into a newer, greener office space. Companies are migrating into space with higher mechanical and energy efficiency, saving more in utility expense even with an increase in rent and moving expense. With the Southeastern Texas sun, energy efficient office spaces are always a top priority.
The next 15 months will certainly bring many challenges to Houston, San Antonio and Austin businesses in regards to office space sustainability, productive and affordable work space solutions and an effective reaction to both. ROSI is focused on the future and is available to provide solutions to these and many other questions facing facility managers, business owners and more. Contact ROSI for help with a space plan and many other creative ideas that will help get your business working more effectively and efficiently.