This article was originally published in October 2020.
In order to rethink our working spaces effectively, we must consider new priorities.
“The office is dead!” some headlines have proclaimed. “What’s the point of an office anyway?” others have asked. Are these bold claims an exaggeration or, at the very least, premature? Despite recent enforced home-working, can online interactions and remote working really foster creativity and collaboration and sustain productivity for the longer term? A recent podcast by BDO named ‘Rethinking the Office’ tackled these issues and asked to what extent we will see a seismic shift in the way we work.
Recent events have caused companies to re-evaluate their property usage. As in previous recessions, we have already seen certain property trends play out, such as a decline in leasing, a rise in property vacancies and a stalling of developments. As office space typically represents a significant operating cost for a business, pressure is being put on boards and leadership teams to consider assets and to be smarter with their real estate usage. Businesses are likely to be looking at their occupancies and may seek to reduce their footprint, pursue shorter or more flexible lease terms or even move to a cheaper location. For those with upcoming lease negotiations, tenants may have the upper hand – as we have seen in other sectors.
One of the challenges facing many businesses is an always-on culture, where rising client demands and ambitious growth targets lead to a blurring of home and office working. Recent months have shown that people do not necessarily need to commute to an office to add value, so with a growing number of people wanting greater flexibility, could a mix of office and home-working be the answer?