What Do Tech Workers Want From Landlords?


The stereotypical image of a tech worker beavering away on their laptop in whatever space takes their fancy has been debunked with a new White Paper showing tech teams spend more time in the office and more time at their desks than any other industry.

The paper, created by design firm Bates Smart, showed accommodating the growth of the tech industry and their different requirements was one of the key challenges for the property industry.

The report showed tech workers are in the workplace 12% more often and at their desks 14% more often than teams in other industries.

Bates Smart uses the insights to guide its design practices to ensure they meet the changing needs of commercial tenants - particularly given the influx of tech companies to our CBDs.

Why so much time at the desk?
In a world where technology encourages people to work anywhere, anytime, the truth about what keeps tech workers welded to their desks is pretty simple. There are two main reasons:

  1. Most software development teams work in close collaboration and this type of work is most effective when you sit with your team; and
  2. Tech companies collaborate with their clients and customers in the office, either in review meetings or online.

"We have worked with teams that have a work from home policy and teams that collaborate effectively across continents and time zones," the paper said.

"In this situation, we specifically address the issue of remote work and adapt their workplace to compensate.

"The most common solution is to use technology (usually a form of continual telepresence) to give a remote team a seat at the table – creating a seamless virtual workspace."

Top 3 things tech companies look for in office space

The paper identified some of the unique needs of tech companies that landlords need to consider if they want to attract them as tenants.

  1. Location, location, location
    As they establish a firm foothold in the list of the world’s top multinationals, tech is the fastest growing part of the premium grade market. While their brands align with city fringe locations, CBD properties offer larger floorplate sizes, options for expansion and diverse amenities. The stigma of the CBD as ‘suit city’ is evaporating.

  2. Character
    Activated and energised spaces with individual character rate highly. Large marble lobbies don’t resonate with their brands. When they can’t find what they want, tech firms will strip out A-Grade space to find their brand within an ‘ordinary’ shell.

  3. A flexible lease (+ landlord)
    Lease flexibility is crucial, for both expansion and contraction. Co-working hubs and incubators offer a social network and business development opportunities along with month-to-month leases for smaller businesses. Space delivered as a ‘warm’ shell with void and stairs are popular ways to avoid expensive make-good clauses.

Dave Greiner, co-founder of Sydney-based tech firm Campaign Monitor said the ideal office environment was about finding the right balance between socialising and getting stuff done.

"It should be easy for everyone to remove any distractions, put their head down and get into the zone. They should also be able to hang out and generally switch off.”

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