How will COVID-19 change office space demand?
There is no doubt that the global pandemic of 2020 will impact all sorts of different areas of our lives. One of them is certainly how we work. There has been a significant shift to people working from home, which has led to an existential crisis in offices. Will we need them anymore? If not, what will happen to city centers as a result? While we can’t pretend to have all the answers, we can look at some of the possible ways in which the demand for office space will change over the coming months and years.
Why Do We Need Offices?
If you own some offices, you may well be looking hard at portfolio optimisation, wondering where best to place your trust. While there has been a lot said about this new working from home trend, it doesn’t necessarily mean that offices will become obsolete, but it does mean that there is likely to be a scaled-back demand for them. While people can do many formerly office-based tasks from home, there is still something about face-to-face meetings that is difficult to replicate. Also, it acts as an important learning environment for less experienced employees to get to grips with the new job. There is also the simple fact that the office acts as a valuable social setting for many people. So, while the future is looking less office-based, this doesn’t mean that the old working environment will go down without a fight.
What we are likely to see is a reduction in the need for huge office space. Rather than investing in big offices that can accommodate 100 percent of the workforce, we may instead see companies only being able to accommodate 60 or 70%. This is with the idea that staff members will continue working from home for at least some of the time. It ensures that social distancing is complied with. Plus, companies will be less likely to take on large office space in the knowledge that another wave of the current pandemic or a different illness could send people back to working from home at the drop of a hat.
While companies may not require as much space, they will also want to do everything they can with the office that they have. Modern, flexible offices are likely to be in-demand, while the older ones may easily find themselves falling out of favor. Landlords will need to adapt their spaces in-line with these changes, whether this is to include a wellness suite or improved digital technology. Offices need to have a clear purpose. No longer should people be going in wondering what they are doing there. Coworking spaces have been imagining what the modern office could look like for some time, and it may be that we see a shift towards this kind of plush environment.
Office space demand is changing – and quickly. So, if you are a business owner or a landlord, now is the time to take action.