Business will seek flexibility and safety when choosing office space.
More businesses will choose local offices to adapt their work environments to a post-pandemic world, suggests flexible workspace firm Mindspace.
Itay Banayan, vice-president of real estate and projects at Mindspace, believes that in a post-pandemic world more businesses will have questions about what a safe office environment is and how their company can meet that criteria whether they are small, medium or large. Therefore, they are more likely to use professional workspace operators who are already meeting safety regulations.
Banayan told Facilitate: “In an uncertain environment, most companies tend not to spend or not to take long-term decisions, so flexibility will be a major decision-maker in what kind of an office space companies should take.
“Secondly, the headache of running an office environment that is complying with all of the new regulations – and it’s changing every day in many markets and many companies don’t understand it completely – will be more of a priority. So that will be something that will be in demand… many companies may be more likely to come to an operator that is providing a high-quality office design with flexibility and which is meeting all the regulations.
“This will create a larger share of demand out of the overall demand for office space.”
Mindspace is opening a new site in Hammersmith, West London, next month and the company said spaces such as this would be a way for companies to have extra office space in local neighbourhoods to help some workers minimise their commute in the long term. It plans to enact new health and safety procedures across all 31 of its locations in line with each country’s rules.
“Bringing workplace and homes to the high street would be an exciting way to activate them”
Others agree with this assessment that local satellite offices will become more important. By extension, this could also lead to a new injection of life for local neighbourhoods in general.
Last month, office expert Jonathan Ratcliffe from Offices.co.uk said that because of the pandemic there would be a “regionalisation of office space” and that “the potential shift is huge – and for the regions it is great news”.
In a recent webinar tun by architectural practice Farrells, the firm’s Giulia Robba, said that she sees opportunity in more geographically dispersed and localised working combined with residential requirements.
She said: “That’s where the workplace/home model could work. We have a lot of empty spaces along the high street and probably after the pandemic the number will increase. Bringing workplace and homes to the high street would be an exciting way to activate them and keep communities close.”
A JLL survey found that its staff had undergone a “dramatic shift” in their appetite to work from home. The real estate adviser had polled more than 1,300 respondents in its JLL Living Survey, including about 200 employees across the UK ranging in age from 20 to 65.
The findings also showed an increase in the number of staff saying they now want to move home and their most important housing priorities have shifted – private outside space, faster broadband and a private home working area have significantly risen in importance. JLL said:
“Crucially, just 3 per cent of respondents said they would like to work from home full-time – the same percentage as pre-Covid.” JLL said this suggests that most workers still want access to an office – another indication that working close to home could be the future.