Boss of Barclays drops a clanger, but it’s all good for the regional office market

When the boss of Barclay’s comes out and says, “Big offices are now a thing of the past”, you might think it’s the nail in the coffin for offices – however if you work in the Regions things are only going to get better.

“Everything has changed”, explains office expert Jonathan Ratcliffe from, “we are witnessing the biggest shift for a generation – huge centralised HQ buildings are the new dinosaurs, we are entering a new culture of flexible working and regionalisation of office space”.

Regional cities like Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds have already seen some large businesses expand from London in an effort to tap into the huge pools of local talent. The current mood is that City firms or those with large central offices can no longer justify the price they pay financially, nor do the staff want to be there.

“The opportunities for key regional centres is phenomenal, you see huge corporates like Channel 4 to Leeds City Centre and law firms growing from one city to 10 regional cities – they are chasing local talent, a lower cost base and a better overall quality of life for their staff”, explains Ratcliffe

Regional cities like Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh are in position to hoover up some of the major moves over the next 12-24 months. When a key player like Barclays in the City announces that their office strategy is to downsize to smaller office spaces in the Regions it is a very positive signal for regional centres.

More home working

The big change during the Covid-19 lockdown has been home working. Loved and hated in equal measures, you cannot ignore the change in mindset that the lockdown has created. As office workers become used to home working and the potential for long drawn out restrictions continue, business bosses will see huge cost savings.

“Your new working week may involve 3 days working from home, and 2 in a shared co-working space within a regional office space. When you have international oil traders working from home in the countryside – you know location isn’t a problem anymore”, explains Jonathan Ratcliffe from

Bye bye London

The big opportunity for regional cities will be for office providers to react quickly to the demands from the huge corporations readjusting where they need staff. They need to be ready for a large central London business to suddenly decide over the next 24 months they are moving into several regional cities – this may also be where the squeeze happens. There may not be enough room.

“There is a good supply of office space in our regional cities, but if the predicted trend happens, there might not be enough of the right type of Grade A space available at short notice. The potential shift is huge – and for the regions it is great news”, concludes Jonathan Ratcliffe from

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Posted by Jonathan Ratcliffe, Thursday 30th April 2020

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