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Commercial Real Estate Insights and Reflections on 2020

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We've seen the way we work change astronomically in the last year. The Office for National Statistics states that 86% of the 46% of those homeworking in April 2020 did so because of the pandemic. 

"Covid-19 has asked deeper questions of the office", acknowledges Flexioffices Business Development Director, Michael Dubicki. 
"What does the office actually do? Why do we have them? Do we need them? The pandemic has asked businesses to re-look at office space and include the perspective of how it affects people - their productivity, their wellbeing, how they interact together and engage in positive experiences. Again, simply put, the office has become much more than just walls and desks." 

It's crucial that businesses adapt to the new working world - and all change begins with reflection and understanding. That's why we've spent some time unpacking what 2020 has taught some of the leading senior figures of the Commercial Real Estate market. Read their insights on the last year and foresights for what lies ahead in the world of workspace below. 

Danny Babbington 
Broker & Agent Relations Manager 

“2020 has rekindled for me the absolute value of patience and empathy. We are fortunate to work in a "relationship' industry. No matter what side of the coin you are, this industry has always been about a client-led ethos and helping someone find a solution to help their business flourish. 2021 will, for the most part, be about helping people and businesses start again. We are in a sense, a perfect industry to adapt, evolve and create working environments for future and current occupiers. It's always been an industry that offers clients choice, flexibility and a home for businesses to flourish. But first and foremost 2020 showed the importance of patience, community and working together to overcome immense challenges. Both in our business and personal.” 

Beth Hampson 
Commercial Director
The Argyll Club 

"2020 provided some challenging but valuable lessons about the world of work, accelerating some flexible working trends that were already gaining momentum pre-pandemic. One of the key lessons that the past year has taught us is that experience-led workspaces are here to stay. The office now needs to be a 'one-stop-shop' that not only provides well-designed safe places to work but is also a lifestyle destination that meets employees' high expectations for the world of work they're re-entering after months of lone working. 

We've all come to feel more grateful than ever for quality time spent with colleagues and the vital boost that the office can provide for our wellbeing, so workspaces that include offerings like yoga classes or quality business lounges, bars or terraces where teammates can catch up will be most in-demand in a post-pandemic world. Our clients relayed that face-time with colleagues is what they missed most throughout the first lockdown and we saw that playing out last year with demand for day working products, including co-working, meeting rooms and day offices, surging through the autumn months. Above all, the past year has taught us that spaces that allow people to connect, regroup and collaborate with teammates will be the most sought after in 2021 and beyond."

Tiernan Redmond
Senior Sales Manager

“What etc.venues has seen re-affirmed over the past year is that people crave social interaction, both professionally and socially, and that although digital technology has been a welcome aide to our working lives, it cannot be a full-time substitute to the tangible benefits of meeting and working together in person. Covid-19 brought the benefits of team engagement to the fore. You feed off colleagues ideas, their attitudes and their outlook. Virtual has benefits but does not replace the in-person energy. Is the fixed office lease dead? Perhaps not - but we do believe more businesses, from SMEs to large enterprises,  will re-evaluate the rationale behind a high, long-term, fixed cost. We’re already seeing corporate clients sub-lease whole floors and opt for flexible space and on-demand meeting rooms as and when required (54% of those surveyed suggested this would be their preferred route in future). This trend is likely to accelerate and become the norm as the need to be more agile becomes a key driver. 

Working together in an office space is also not a dead concept. It has had what we believe was an inevitable re-alignment. The core to what makes a business successful remains its people. The push for density in Flex spaces with little room for manoeuvre on contract terms has shown the fragility to profit before client happiness and landlords and providers alike, we believe, are going to have to balance the two much better in order to attract, retain and ultimately grow their flex contracts moving forward.” 

Devrim Kahramanoglu 
Director of Operations

“2020 challenged us to show both resilience and creativity in a period of uncertainty, staying true to our core values. Our commitment to Uncommon members and teams has remained our utmost priority. Here at Uncommon, we deliver services to a hugely diverse member-base operating in various industries and as a result, we found ourselves identifying and procuring best in class Covid Safety protocols. As early as May 2020, we decided to go above & beyond the industry standards and invested in Thermal Cameras, UVC Air Sterilisers, and electrostatic hospital grade sanitising regime across all our spaces. All of this coupled with new technology-enabled our members to continue to provide their services, whether they worked from the office or from home. We have also introduced an enhanced industry-leading Customer Satisfaction portal and Colleague Opinion Surveys to ensure we plan our actions in response to our members’ needs and specific requirements during this difficult time. 

I still remember when one of our members working in essential services said, “I feel most productive and safe at Uncommon spaces”. There’s truly nothing more motivating than hearing those genuine words of recognition. Now, more than ever before, we focus on our wellbeing in every sense. Business founders are looking for a happier, safer, healthier and more productive environment for their teams. I am confident to say that in that aspect, Uncommon is leading the way – we put people first. We have the right expertise, mindset and highly talented team to adapt to the new challenges and to continue creating the offices of the future that makes our members feel good so they do better.”

The common denominator: there is no replacement for the physical workspaces' ability to inspire, educate, and further your people. 

Collaboration, secure and up to date technology, and your employees’ wellbeing are all the driving stake-holders when it comes to answering the question: why do I still need an office? 

There are a plethora of flexible contracts available for you right now. Take advantage of them - and us! 
With 20+ years of expertise behind us and offering you a completely impartial service, Flexioffices can help you find the workspace your people will want to come back to. 

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