Service: Business strategy 

Sector: Property 

Topic: Coronavirus 

A flexible future – what role will offices play when lockdown restrictions are lifted?

By Richard Kleiner

24 Mar 2021

I picked up a very interesting article that appeared recently in the Evening Standard. There is a flurry of new commercial properties coming into Zone 1 in Central London and, in the City alone, approval has been given for more than two million square feet of office space.

Whilst there seems to be appetite for prime office space, it does come at a fairly acute uncertain time with many companies now discussing the merits of working from the office as compared to working from home. The Evening Standard article suggests that real estate developers are not panicking as they do not buy into the notion that everyone loves remote working. It goes on to say that research from O2 Business identifies that the new work-life personalities as the home dwellers, office cravers and the “mixers” in between, make for interesting reading. According to a recent poll of over 2,000 UK adults, only 10% wanted to go back to the office full time with 31% not wanting to go back at all. However, that would suggest there are plenty of “mixers” that want the best of both worlds.

Flexibility is clearly the name of the game and within my own firm, Gerald Edelman, the current view of our team is to embrace that flexibility. Collaboration and meetings will still need to take place in the offices but clearly much will also be carried out from home as long as there are regular visits to the office to ensure that collaboration is fully embraced. Our younger team members who may be living, working and sleeping in much smaller accommodation will certainly want to commute to the office more frequently than some of our older team members some of whom may prefer seeing more of their family and children.

It is clear from a review of the Evening Standard article that every business is running a “forensic eye” over their current and future space requirements. Commitments to lengthy leases may be something of the past. Co-working (confidentiality issues aside) may also be something that will be more applicable in the future.

Watch this space!

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