New data from Quotezone.co.uk, a leading price comparison platform, shows that demand for office space has made a partial U-turn in the first five months of this year, following a sharp decline during the height of the pandemic.
The research, which is based on a sample of over 10,000 commercial property insurance policies, reveals an 18% increase in demand for office space in the first five months of 2021 compared to the same period last year.
Lockdowns and ‘work from home’ orders during the pandemic saw many offices left empty as millions of workers worked from home, changing the commercial landscape of work and city life dramatically during the course of 2020.
While some employers have indicated that they plan to make working from home a more permanent arrangement, Quotezone.co.uk’s latest findings reveal that many other businesses are continuing to seek out new office space for their workforce.
Demand is still well below pre-pandemic levels though, with a year-on-year drop of 49% in 2020 compared to 2019.
However, the increase is good news for business leaders who want to get employees back into the office, and is also a positive sign for hospitality businesses, many of which rely on footfall in city centres to stay afloat.
The research comes in the midst of ministerial debate over proposed legal changes that would prevent employers from requiring staff to come into the office. However, this research suggests that businesses and employees have already decided that a hybrid model of working is the best approach to navigate the ‘next-normal’ of the coronavirus pandemic.
Greg Wilson, Founder of Quotezone.co.uk, comments: “For the first time in 18 months our data is showing a step towards returning to pre-pandemic life for office workers. Without a doubt the post-pandemic commercial landscape will be different to life before 2020, but an increase in demand for office space suggests many businesses are embracing a hybrid model of working, which will keep city centres alive while also offering a more balanced work life in the UK.
“However, for businesses taking that step to re-open their offices, it is crucial to remain vigilant with savings. According to Marsh’s recent report, commercial property insurance costs increased by 18% in Q1 of this year, following a 24% increase in Q4 of last year. If businesses do experience an increase when renewing their policy, it’s important they consider switching providers. Now is a challenging time for most businesses so it’s crucial to avoid unnecessary costs wherever possible.”