City centre location still top for office occupiers
Research from our recent report, ‘Where We Work’, has found that having an office in the heart of the UK’s city centres is a commercial necessity to meet the needs of a business’s customers and attract the most talented individuals.
The pandemic has caused a huge shift in where we work and what we now need from our offices, so to drill down into the finer details, we surveyed office occupiers and workers to find out what they want now and in the future from their office spaces.
Last year, we ran similar research and created a report where we focused on how easy it would be for office occupiers to move if their existing accommodation no longer met their needs. And it seems a year on, occupiers are more certain than ever of what their needs are.
Similar to last year, there is still a high percentage of people (40%) who indicated they plan to move offices once their lease allows, with many looking for premises that now meet their needs better. In fact ‘better facilities’, such as high-speed wifi, were cited as the top driver for their next move. Landlords that can tick all the right boxes when it comes to facilities are keeping the people who are signing the lease happy, as well as the people who are going to influence them signing the lease.
Location is also the key priority for office occupiers to ensure they’re able to attract the right people to work within their company. While there were questions around whether people may move away from cities post-pandemic, there is still a strong urge to have a city centre base. The top location where businesses want to be based is London – with nearly half (41%) opting to reside in the capital.
However, despite enthusiasm to get back to the office, employers do still recognise the benefits of working from home. Many businesses are adopting a hybrid-working model as a result, with time split between the office and home. When asking both workers and employers how they’d prefer to split their time, both stated they find three days a week in the office to be the perfect balance.
This increase in hybrid office use since the pandemic is allowing workers to achieve the best of both worlds and reap the benefits of being in the office and at home. With half (49%) of workers saying they missed out on the social interaction when working from home, they now get to enjoy the benefits of the office such as collaboration and socialising.
Companies are now looking into the adaptability of their offices, in fact 95% are either already adapting their offices or plan to. Employers who can cater for their employees as the need and use of the office changes will win the war for talent. Now office occupiers are moving towards holding large collaboration spaces for their employees, so when they are in the office they can make the most of sharing ideas and working collaboratively with colleagues.
It’s not just office adaptability that employers want, but also flexibility of tenancy agreements. Occupiers want to build a closer working relationship with landlords, with one in four saying they want their landlords to work more closely with them to better understand their needs.
With us now firmly living in the ‘new normal’ our research shows that while where we work has changed, there is still a fundamental need for an office that is ideally located and can cater for workers and occupiers. It will be interesting to see what happens in the office sector over the next few years and beyond.