Pandemic Forces Premises Rethink

The COVID pandemic has left businesses questioning the need for an office, and whether it should be based in high value city centres, according to a new study.

Commercial premises experts, Flexioffices have undertaken research which found the pandemic and the need for remote working has left senior management questioning the size of their current office space and whether they actually need offices at all.

Since the start of the month, many businesses, industries and establishments returned to work with social distancing measures in place. However, for many businesses, the post Covid-19 workplace looks very different.

The firm said adapting and being flexible to the new demands of work life is a key part in moving forward, but how are businesses planning on implementing this?

The research found 74% of businesses have been significantly impacted as a result of Covid-19, and 2 out of 3 employers say that maintaining employee morale during the pandemic has been a challenge.

The most significant change that faces businesses is their office space. Given the overheads in property letting and the proven capabilities of employees working from home, Flexioffices said it is not a surprise that businesses are going to look at reducing their space and rent. When thinking about their future office space, 21% of respondents say the size of their office space will be the most important consideration, 19% say price and 19% say location.

The study found 36% of businesses in London are looking to move away from their current city, 56% are encouraging more flexible working hours, and 39% of those who are looking to move want more flexible contracts.

Twenty four percent of those in ‘people’ roles say that the one thing they want to change is access to more breakout spaces and communal areas. However, 23% of managing directors and senior decision-makers questioned said price and size of office space are the most important factors when making a decision about a future office space.

Michael Dubicki, Director of Business Development at Flexioffices said: “Covid-19 has had a profound effect on businesses. Ultimately, it has asked deeper questions of the office. What does the office actually do? Why do we have them? Do we need them? The pandemic has asked businesses to re-look at office space and include the perspective of how it affects people – their productivity, their wellbeing, how they interact together and engage in positive experiences.”

He added on the return to work, many businesses will need to implement changes and processes in order to facilitate a safe working environment and protect their staff. However, that might not be so straightforward.

Across the board, businesses are most concerned with implementing social distancing measures in the office (21%), implementing new technology (15%), and needing increased flexibility in their premise’s contracts (16%).

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