The coronavirus pandemic has had profound implications on how people work across the UK and indeed the world.
Whilst demand for office space to rent remains stable and strong, there are certainly changes in how people look at their office space requirements, flexibility, cleanliness and more – as Pilcher Hershman investigates below.
Emphasis on Flexibility
The Covid-19 period has made business owners demand for more flexibility in their work spaces and their contracts.
Whilst businesses are usually contracted to a certain workspace for several months (e.g 12 months), the ever-changing business now needs more flexibility, whether they want to pause, end early or opt for a smaller or bigger sized office.
With some staff members now preferring to work from home and other businesses seeing this as a cost-cutting measure, the demand for flexible offices is going to be greater than ever.
Virtual meetings rooms and virtual working has been the buzzwords of the coronavirus and lockdown period. With everyone now familiar with Zoom, Slack and Skype, we will see a continued popularity for virtual software to assist those working in different locations and to avoid unnecessary travel whilst the virus still looms.
We may find companies investing in more virtual technology, software or adjusting their meeting rooms so that they can hold virtual conferences more effectively than ever before.
Some staff will continue to prefer working remotely, enjoying the lack of commute and lack of distractions. Office spaces need to account for remote workers or have open spaces for when non-regular staff wish to come in and work for the day.
Whilst some employees will continue to work remotely, some will be desperate to get back in the office, enjoying the stimulation, camaraderie and break from close family members.
With a potential second wave of coronavirus, some companies are starting to include pandemic clauses into their office contracts. So in the event that a second wave emerges, companies will have some flexibility to pause and save on their office rent – which could be huge for businesses undergoing tough times.
We could see a huge fall in rent across the market as landlords aim to encourage new business or retain existing tenants – but it is still very early to confirm.
More Regular Cleaning
The weekly clean will no longer be enough for most organisations, as coronavirus requires a regular cleaning and better ventilation in offices to reduce the spread of the virus.
Particularly in workspaces where people regularly share desks or use a different desk during the day – this will need to be wiped down before its next use, or the person should stay in their allocated area.
Overall Change in Perceptions
Following a three-month period where over 5 million staff have had to adjust to working from home, many business owners and employees have changed their perception on the traditional office space. Some require an office more than ever, with some preferring to work from home – and a combination of the two.
There is likely to be a lot of movement in the office sector over the coming months and it is certainly an interesting time for all of us.