Size isn’t everything – why landlords should understand that small can be beautiful

29th September 2020

There can be no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has sharpened the minds of business owners as to exactly what they need from their office space.

As the workforce becomes more flexible as to where they’re based, company MDs and CEOs are recognising that their offices are not just a collection of rooms for people to sit in every day – but a chance for them to reconfigure entirely the way they work so that they can not only survive but thrive as we work our way out of the Covid-19 cloud.

Yahoo recently reported that almost three-quarters (73%) of decision-makers believe COVID-19 will result in more UK businesses downsizing to smaller office spaces over the next year, according to a survey by Accumulate Capital.

The survey of more than 500 senior business decision-makers also revealed that 37% plan to relocate to a smaller space in the coming year.

The same number (37%) are looking to relocate to a new location with cheaper rent.

Half of those surveyed acknowledge that their preferences for work spaces has changed significantly as a result of the pandemic, while nearly the same proportion (45%) say they do not expect employees to all be working from the office at the same time.

Meanwhile, 58% of those surveyed believe that working from home will become the norm.

While traditional office space may be going through an identity crisis, 57% of those polled by Accumulate still said they would rely on a physical workspace to network with partners and potential clients.

This is being borne out in the deal we’re completing here at NG. While some clients may be looking to rationalise their office space, it’s still in demand – they just want it to work smarter for them.

A great example of this was a recent deal NG brokered to let a newly-refurbished office unit in Gedling, Nottingham, to specialist funding provider Lindsay Finance.

Stuart Lindsay, CEO of Lindsay Finance, said:

“Following Coivd-19 the move to Gedling has given us the ability to downsize our physical operations, but upscale our abilities at the same time.

“We are in the same position as many of our clients who have been affected by the Pandemic and we have had to cut our cloth accordingly.

“We have taken advantage of the Government’s Bounce Back Scheme and invested in a better working environment with improved technology. We hope to grow our client base by continuing to offer our specialist services from Nottingham across the entire UK.”

This is typical of other anecdotal evidence we’re hearing from business owners across the East Midlands and should be seen as an opportunity for landlords to attract tenants who fit for the future.

The pandemic has shifted the mindset of the business owner so that they are looking at offices and commercial property in a completely different way  – something that will have significant implications for both developers and landlords.

Gone are the days when a firm would rent or buy an office with a desk in it for every member of staff. In truth, those times were coming to an end before the pandemic gripped us in late-February/early March, but this trend is now an unstoppable force and we all need to move with it.

As we predicted back in August [, in the office of the future technology will play a central role in enabling employees to return to office buildings and to work safely before a vaccine becomes widely available.
Businesses will need to manage which employees can come to the office, when they can enter and take their places, how often the office is cleaned, whether the airflow is sufficient, and if they are remaining sufficiently far apart as they move through the space.

In June we mentioned that reinvention will be the key []. This is the beginning of a new beginning and by understanding the so-called “new normal”, landlords can adapt their office portfolio to a new model and, with our help, be matched with tenants who have acted quickly to ensure that their businesses are futureproofed for well beyond the Covid-19 crisis, meaning a guaranteed rental income in a time when, still, not much else is certain.

What are you waiting for?

To find out more, feel free to contact us, give us a call on 0115 958 8599 or email [email protected].