Despite all the conjecture, debate, thought pieces and prophecy over the future of offices, the answer to the question above is that at this stage we don’t really know. The way we work is very unlikely to return to the pre-pandemic norm of five days a week in the office, but it won’t remain the same as it is now with enforced remote working. The forces of our free market economy will be exerted over the principal commodity of the service sector, which is people.
The businesses that foster the best workplace cultures will be rewarded by greater productivity, profitability and loyalty. The latter is often termed as the ‘war on talent’, but how will your organisation retain and attract good people?
This question places a significant importance on offices and their primary function for businesses as a place for collaboration, learning and communication. Occupiers are all thinking about how they move away from the virtual world and re-engage back to their physical hubs.
We have experienced a higher sense of urgency in recent months with increased enquiries and lettings, with a common trend of ‘quality versus quantity’.
In order to drive better company ethos and encourage staff back to workplaces, offices need to be nice places to work and play. ‘Wellbeing’ and ‘work life balance’ are buzz words in the office sector, but it’s true, no one wants to return to the drab 1980s style offices depicted in the infamous Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant sitcom.
Milton Keynes still has a significant stock of these older vanilla buildings, with the town suffering from a lack of quality office buildings either new build or refurbished, particularly in comparison to the more esteemed office markets such as the Thames Valley. More new office development is desperately needed in MK in order to sustain economic growth, attract employers and ensure that the town doesn’t lose out to other regions in the South East.
At Norfolk & Ashton (www.na-mk.com) our client, Commercial Estates Group, has transformed this first generation MK office building into unique contemporary workspace with great amenities, including a free tenant gym and café. We have had incredible success in letting approximately 70,000 square feet to nine occupiers since refurbishment, all the way from 16 desks to over 200 desks.
It’s not just the great product which has delivered this success, but the leasing package offered to tenants. The office market is no longer binary, comprising traditional leased offices (longer lease terms and tenant responsible for fit out) and serviced offices (12-24 month agreements, all-inclusive rents and fitted/furnished). Capable landlords are willing to offer a hybrid of both models with a raft of options available, including fully fitted solutions (often bespoke design and build) and flexible lease terms, wrapped in a pay-as-you-go type arrangement, maintaining all the benefits of having your own leased space but minimising capital expenditure.
For a medium-sized office relocation, 12 months from your lease event is a prudent time to start focusing on your property strategy. At Lambert Smith Hampton we will guarantee to add value throughout the process from sourcing the right premises whether on or off market, negotiating the best possible financial and contractual terms, property due diligence and minimising exit costs such as dilapidations.
Find our more by contacting Lambert Smith Hampton on 01908 604630 or visit www.lsh.co.uk