Three in four UK business leaders predict office downsizing

·2-min read
(Alesia Kazantceva/Unsplash)
Over a third of businesses are planning to downsize within the next 12 months. Photo: Alesia Kazantceva/Unsplash

Senior business leaders predict UK businesses will downsize their offices in the next year, as working from home is likely to become “the new norm” as a result of COVID-19.

In a survey of more than 500 senior decision-makers across various UK industries, 73% told Accumulate Capital they believe businesses will relocate to smaller commercial spaces because of the pandemic.

Over a third (37%) said their own business is planning to downsize within the next 12 months, with all of these looking for a new location and cheaper rent now there is “less emphasis on employees working from the same office.”

Three in five (58%) believe working from home will become “the new norm.” Although government working from home advice has ended, many companies have allowed employees to continue working from home on a permanent basis while the coronavirus crisis is still ongoing.

READ MORE: Small businesses bounce back from COVID-19 but job losses continue

More UK employees are continuing to work from home than any other major European country, the Sun reported last week.

On top of this, nearly half (45%) of business leaders said they don’t foresee a time where all employees will be working from the office at once.

However, with three in five (57%) businesses still relying on some form physical workspace, in order to network and collaborate with partners, co-workers and clients, this does raise some questions about social distancing in the future.

Paul Howells, CEO of Accumulate Capital, said: “Today’s research demonstrates just how COVID-19 is affecting both the UK’s businesses and its commercial real estate market.

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“As a result of the pandemic, businesses clearly no longer look at offices and commercial property in the same way, which will have significant implications for property developers and commercial landlords.

“The increase in remote working will likely see businesses look to smaller, more flexible workspaces. The days when a company would own or rent an office with a desk in it for each and every member of staff are coming to an end — in reality, this trend was already taking shape, but the coronavirus crisis has greatly accelerated it.”

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