London offices now entering the biggest period of change since the introduction of serviced offices

First Office Hub, the global workspace broker, which has just helped a tech company to expand from a traditional leasehold property into a 20,000 sq ft managed office space, describes the London office scene as extremely active with companies of all sizes and across all sectors researching offers and looking to secure the right deals ahead of 2021.

“The pandemic has created uncertainty in most sectors, transparent contracts and turnkey solutions is the best office formula for 2021.” Comments Clive Buckley Founding Partner of the global workspace broker, First Office Hub.

Buckley expands: “The big switch in the last few weeks has been that larger companies can no longer commit to the traditional five-year lease with a three-year break – they need more flexibility than ever before.” Having completed transactions for several large established businesses in London ranging from 40 – 425 desk requirements, First Office Hub explains the motivation is to save on office costs and manage cash flow whilst providing a better and more agile workspace environment for their employees. “We believe that from now into 2021 we are going to see corporations reassessing their office needs and head office spaces by taking on board employee feedback and preparing for economies of scale by recalibrating office requirements.”

The global workplace broker says that all areas of London are seeing interest as clients’ requirements revolve around great deals ahead of a specified location. “In the commercial office space at the moment, it’s less location, location, location more flexibility, flexibility, flexibility” although Buckley agrees that some businesses still retain a fondness for certain parts of the capital due to niche industry clusters

Both serviced offices and managed offices are currently seen as offering more flexible, cost-effective solutions that provide companies with everything from A to Z. “The managed office route is definitely popular with companies who do not want to bump into others in shared spaces and kitchens; sometimes this is for privacy reasons, although at the moment people are obviously citing health protection and social-distancing concerns” explains Buckley. “Aside from the big deals, another growth area is in the 20 – 30-person space where our clients have been keen to retain their own identity and company culture but are acknowledging that they no longer need space for all 60 people at the same time.”

At the smaller end of the market, First Office Hub confirms there are also a lot of companies looking. “It’s the same for them as for large businesses: they are looking at deals and thinking they won’t necessarily be needing all staff in at the same time so smaller offices and more “member passes” from serviced office companies are key to their survival.” Buckley confirms that there are some “stonkingly good deals” out there at the moment.

The trends that First Office Hub has continued to see in the Autumn:

  • Companies downsizing to accommodate staff rotations and WFH.
  • Demand for shared offices, i.e. with one company using the space 3 days a week and a different company using it 2 days a week. We predict that this business-led/customer-led way of thinking will account for up to 10% of serviced office space within the next 6 months.
  • Office relocation to reduce travel distance across teams.
  • Clients are still saying that staff are keen to be back working from an office but dates when this might be achieved are less fixed than previously.