21 May, 2020
It’s Not Time To Give Up On The Office
The effects of Covid-19 has brought the future of the office into sharp focus. Some experts argue that it is time to wave adieu to the traditional workspace, given that businesses worldwide are having to operate from home, whilst others note that the office will never be the same again.
Whilst, it is certain that we will see an overhaul to the way offices are arranged in order to integrate social distancing measures, it is not time to say goodbye to the traditional office.
Offices will continue to have a purpose and a presence in our lives. Why? Because we need them to help organisations flourish; they are a boon to our productivity and to team-bonding. As James Gorman, CEO of Morgan Stanley, recently noted, workspaces allow organisations to thrive by acting as an incubator for “mentoring […] brainstorming” and “creativity”.
We just need to find a middle ground that avoids “creative collisions”, specifically shared workspaces and hot desking, and averts the lonesome nature of working from home.
Although it is still too early to discern what exactly companies might settle for in terms of the type of office space, some occupiers might opt to resign from the collaborative work life culture they have come to adapt to and swap it for self-contained office space.
Our argument is that businesses still value office space for their unique ability to convert spontaneous conversations into fruitful and innovative ideas. However, they are seeking a work environment that is more manageable and sustainable in the age of Covid-19.
This is why we predict that demand for self-contained offices will increase once lockdown restrictions are further eased. We have aligned ourselves with this school of thought, particularly as we have been receiving an increasing flow of enquiries from small businesses wanting to migrate from co-working space to a self-contained unit, as some view it as a sustainable option to protect the health of their employees, and ultimately, an essential way to keep their business afloat.
This type of workspace affords occupiers with more control over how they want to roll out safety measures. For example, it gives occupiers more room to readily assess and arrange seating plans, as well as allows employers to carefully monitor and disinfect touchpoints and enforce their own cleaning regimes. In the same vein, self-contained spaces provides occupiers with the freedom to perhaps better coordinate new measures to limit transmission, such as single occupancy toilets which occupiers can enforce to stagger the number of people allowed to go the bathroom.
Indeed, there will be logistical configurations that will need to be ironed out even in a self-contained unit, for instance implementing no-touch fixtures to limit point of contact. However, it is possible that occupiers might feel more comfortable to work in a space that has been designed without an open-floor plan and fewer break-out areas.
Furthermore, the salient point of attraction of serviced offices that attributed to their boom in the last decade, was the flexible nature of office leases. It gave occupiers the luxury to come and go as they wish, or to easily cut down the number of desks they rented. However, more landlords of self-contained office space are increasingly offering flexible leasing to lure in occupiers in Shoreditch, as well as other City Fringe areas.
In addition to flexible leases, self-contained office space is likely to appeal to a variety of occupiers, pointedly in an era where businesses are struggling with cashflow, as more landlords offer Cat B lettings and all-inclusive rates.
Whilst, it is certain Covid-19 has onset an evolution to the design of office spaces, we cannot give up on the traditional working space, and self-contained office units might just be the solution to protecting the workforce and ensuring productivity.
If you’re seeking out self-contained office space, please get in touch with the BC&Co. team.
Self-contained offices might just provide that middle
ground between serviced offices and working from home.