The CBD of Sydney has often struggled to provide the type of buildings preferred by global financial services firms due to its planning origins and typically small sites. There is no absolute in terms of a precise ideal size, but typical tenant briefs are for between 1500 sqm and 3000 sqm for tower floors and double that for trading floors. Developments that can provide the ideal floorplate within the CBD will always be in demand by tenants and achieve a premium over small and irregular floorplates.
One interesting explanation for this size may be found in the anthropological (and now business management) theory about the maximum size of social groups, where British Anthropologist Robin Dunbar has proposed that 148 is the maximum number of people that can maintain social cohesion. Virtual social networks such as Facebook and MySpace seem to support this maximum number, however some studies have shown that the number may be as high as 300. With office densities of 10 sqm/person this would correspond to the typical requirement of 1500 sqm to 3000 sqm.
Buildings such as 8 Chifley, with its unique linked 3-floor floorplates provide an extremely clever solution that creates the intimacy of the individual and team, with the larger business network required for cohesive sense of purpose that seems to work anthropologically with the human condition. It does all this in a small inner city site that provides great amenity and transport connections for staff
Large or connected smaller floorplates can benefit business performance by:
1. Physically collocating more people that need to interact, especially for encouraging informal meetings and chance encounters
2. Assisting in removing the ‘silos’ within organisations and encouraging ‘one enterprise’ thinking
3. Providing lines of sight that encourage information to move quickly (especially in trading floors)
4. Flexibility to accommodate groups that are constantly expanding, reducing and reforming with minimal cost
5.Efficiency of space use by maximising the use of support spaces per person and allowing highly efficient modular arrangements of offices and furniture
6. Effectiveness in terms of ‘speed to market’ and brand alignment
7. Improved sustainability through good access to daylight and external views and efficient use and control over thermal and electric lighting conditions, for screen based work.
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