25/5/21 – Occupier market set for change

Earlier in the pandemic, few businesses knew how much the lockdown would affect their working practices or for how long.

The majority of companies coped fairly well asking staff to work from home, largely due to the broadband speeds for domestic use reaching reasonable speeds. Several large office occupiers eventually decided that they would not need to return to a workplace and announced the demise of the office. Many office buildings stood empty around the world, seeming like they were never going to be re-occupied.

A year later and with vaccinations now reaching 60 million doses and 32-33 year-olds now being contacted for vaccinations, many businesses are keen to bring staff back to a work environment. People are increasingly becoming bored with relatively poor internet connectivity, no or little interaction with colleagues, and too many distractions at home. Younger staff are unable to learn as easily without peers close by. Companies are much more willing to move to a more flexible style of working, with staff returning to the office part time, allowing a smaller space to be occupied.

While the take up of offices has undoubtedly been lower than 12 months ago, there is a move back to the workplace, with more companies sending out requirements for space and viewing premises since the New Year.

Aitchison Raffety has seen a number of offices begin to go under offer locally in Hertfordshire, and there is plenty of expansion talk amongst smaller companies, with the most common requirement being for 1,000 – 3,000 sq ft, although larger sizes are also being considered.

Companies have a great deal to consider, with the need to reduce the density of floor space per person and retain social distancing for the foreseeable future. However, we are finding, as ever, that companies would like to move to the best quality premises available. Environmental issues and sustainability are still important, and premises that can tick these boxes will find tenants more easily in the future, including such benefits as electric charging points and sustainable energy sourcing.

For further information or premises advice, contact Ian Archer, Director at Aitchison Raffety on 01727 843232 or ian.archer@argroup.co.uk.