The world has changed more in the last twelve months than ever in our lifetimes and it may never return to it’s previous form. After the global pandemic, the workplace will look very different for many industries. Many high street shops will close, along with pubs and restaurants. Companies that have office-based staff may see large offices as unnecessary and may be looking at alternatives. There may also be other changes that we can’t yet comprehend, particularly those that involve technology.
While some firms may be happy to offer remote working, many will want their staff back in the office at least a few days of the week. This may see a rise in demand for small office space and hot-desking facilities that will perfectly cater to these needs.
Small office spaces are often more flexible and will be attractive to small and medium size businesses who will be slowly returning their workforce over the next few months. These types of office spaces vary in size from a few small studio offices housing up to ten people, to larger serviced offices which mid-sized firms can move straight into and can accommodate a few hundred people. In these situations, the leases and contracts tend to be more flexible and companies can select the size of space they think they’ll need without having to rent large office space. This flexibility will be important to businesses as the furlough scheme ends and a semblance of normal life returns. Some companies aren’t even considering bringing their staff back in until 2022.
Some businesses don’t even need this amount of provision. For freelancers and microbusinesses, hot desking may be the perfect solution to uncertain times. Desks can be rented by the day, or even by the hour, so it is a very cost-effective solution and is the perfect choice for anyone who is sick of working from home and needs to return to some type of working environment.
For many, the novelty of working in their pajamas at their kitchen table has worn off. While avoiding a work commute was a good thing for a little while, many people are thirsting for human contact and the return to the normal work environment, even if it’s on a part time basis. As social creatures, humans like being with other people and the expectation is that the vast majority of workers will return to their normal work environment in some form or other.
Many large companies may think twice about huge office spaces that lay dormant for much of the week as many staff will stay working from home, at least for part of the week. Much of this space may become redundant and landlords may think about converting some of this real estate into residential properties or hospitality facilities such as coffee shops or restaurants.
Much of the urban inner-city landscape that was traditionally office space may be transformed over the next few years as we emerge into a post COVID world. While large office space may dwindle in its place, we may see reinvention through new accommodation and leisure facilities. It will be interesting to see what government policies are introduced to facilitate this inevitable change. Our inner cities could be transformed into very different places as demand and planning evolve.