The pandemic is the nail in the coffin for poorly designed offices, says hybrid workspace founder

Kinrise co-founder Sam Lawson Johnston

Sam Lawson Johnston, Co-Founder of hybrid office firm Kinrise, argues the pandemic hasn’t signalled the death of the office, simply the death of the ‘bad office’. Kinrise owns and operates buildings in high-growth cultural hubs Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham, with London joining the portfolio later this year.

Sam Lawson Johnston, Co-Founder of Kinrise, comments; “The pandemic has accelerated the decline of the ‘bad’ office; homogenous ‘cookie cutter’ spaces with rigid lease structures and little character are no longer suited to the modern world. With limited flexibility for businesses’ changing circumstances and few, if any, foundations for endorsing creativity, inspiration and wellbeing, commoditised office space will struggle to find demand from companies in today’s new world of work.

The pandemic has shown us that whilst working from home is perfectly feasible, rising from 20% of the workforce to 70% over the past year, it is not wholly desirable. Physical connection remains key for collaboration, productivity, knowledge transfer, culture and relationship building – all of which grow exponentially when employees work within the right environment. 58% of workers don’t have a dedicated space to work from at home, rising to 72% for those under the age of 25. The majority of firms are therefore expected to offer a hybrid set up, with employees splitting time between the office (3 or 4 days) and home (1 or 2 days), and they need office space that caters for this hybrid, flexible model.

As businesses reevaluate their working arrangements in the coming months, we are expecting to see a net reduction in office space required of 10% – 20% and a flight to quality with a focus on low-rise, characterful, talent-attracting and brand-enhancing spaces, of which there is a very limited supply across UK cities. What is clear, is that community-focused spaces that endorse personal flourishment and wellbeing, such as those we are creating at Kinrise, will not only attract and retain the best talent, but achieve optimum financial performance for tenant companies. Covid-19 hasn’t signalled the death of the office, simply the death of the ‘bad office’.”