Conference and events company Etc Venues says there is “strong evidence” that many businesses are planning to give up having offices.
The company, which offers 270 meeting rooms mainly in London but also in Manchester, Birmingham and New York, said that since 1st July there has been “a major surge of incoming enquiries for meeting rooms” and more than 25 per cent have been from companies planning to give up having a permanent office, especially in London.
Typically, they want to book one or two meeting rooms for two days a week for six months for internal meetings and for appointments with clients and suppliers. For the rest of the week all staff will work from home.
The company says this is “a clear sign that remote working during lockdown has led employers to review the role and cost of the office space, and to look seriously at alternatives”.
Nick Hoare, chief operating officer of Etc Venues, said: “We appear to be seeing the start of an office culture paradigm shift. Lockdown has forced employers to try out and establish remote working practice on a widespread scale and to be more flexible about how they work. Many businesses are now looking to give up their current offices and the rigid leasing costs involved.”
Hoare says companies were opting for meeting spaces for internal and client meetings “typically for two days a week”.
He added: “They recognise the continuing need to bring their teams together frequently because working from home can be isolating and can eliminate the personal connections that are built in an office. As the prime minister said in this coronavirus briefing on 17 July – ‘there is no substitute for face-to face meetings and interactions.”