Hybrid Working. What do tenants need to do now?
The global pandemic has left us in a state of decidophobia - the fear of making a decision in case it's the wrong one.
In March, life was tipped on its head when the majority of our office workers were forced into millions of new offices - their homes.
In August, Londoners were reluctant to return to the office with around 34% coming back compared to 70-83% of our European neighbours.
In early September the Office for National Statistics reported that 62% of adult workers reported travelling to work compared to 36% in May, and independent research highlighted that 85% of UK workers wanted to return to the office in some capacity.
In late September, the government once again advised people to work from home where possible and announced a new COVID-19 alert system that means cities, regions, and countries can have new restrictions applied at any moment with no advance notice.
In October, so far, we have seen localised restrictions and expect to see more applied to London before the month is over.
What does this mean for tenants?
Larger companies, or those with higher clarity of their future revenues, are already underway in their workforce analysis. They are using this time and data to determine what their optimal office to home (or indeed anywhere!) ratio should be overall, and by function, for their firm. They have an idea of how that will impact their future office, and what their new real estate strategy may be. However, these are (for the most part) only theories as they wait to see how the rest of the year unfolds before taking any action. Their aim is to start signing contracts in early 2021 with relocations being planned for March.
Smaller firms have been tabling these activities to date but are now starting to realise they need to figure out their office strategy soon – but most don’t know where to begin.
What should all tenants do now to prepare for the future and safeguard against uncertainty?
- Redefine their business strategy and re-forecast their business based on what they know now
- Redefine their functions, people, governance, technology, and more to realise this future.
- Redefine their ideal ‘office to home’ working ratio, working with a leading workplace consultancy and design company like ThirdWay that can fast track people, business, and operational understanding and optimise their existing environment to suit immediate requirements.
- Redefine their long-term office real estate needs and relocation strategy based on all of the above.
Having redefined their needs, tenants will be able to reduce their office footprint and reinvest the money they’ve saved into the technology, training and tools to set their team up for success.
Most offices looking to relocate and implement a HybridWorking model will be looking to identify their new space before the end of this year so that a new lease and design process can commence in time to move in Spring. But this can change depending on the business’s size, sector, functions, and employee sentiment, all of which we consider in more detail in our latest Hybrid Working report.
You can read more about Hybrid Working in our latest report.