Enquiries for office space in the major UK cities jumped 800% on Tuesday after Boris Johnson’s announcement that the return to the office is not far away.
“The announcement from the Prime Minister has obviously sparked a vote of confidence for UK businesses working out what the return to normal looks like. We are getting lots of strong enquiries coming in for a full return to the office in the Summer”, explains Jonathan Ratcliffe, senior broker at Offices.co.uk
The Government is officially dropping the “stay at home” message on the 29th March, however there will be a delay in the transition from working from home to physical office space as bosses work out how the rules affect them.
“The general feeling from speaking to businesses owners is that their staff will feel happy to return to offices after May. June has been signalled as when all social contact limits are removed – we expect many businesses to return to offices around these dates. The problem I see is that if holidays are allowed, many staff will not want to be back at work in the Summer as the pent-up demand for a holiday is huge – and this will delay office openings until September anyway” adds Ratcliffe.
Key dates and stages for the transition back to the office and their impacts are:
- 29th March – “stay at home” will be dropped – however people should work at home still if they can, minimising travel.
- 12 April and 17th May – the advice is still to work from home where you can.
- 21st June – Boris Johnson hopes to drop legal limits on social contact, it is hoped the Work from Home message will be dropped at this time.
“There is still a hesitance from bosses though, we are seeing companies planning for September, but they are still nervous about committing to anything. For medium sized businesses looking at offices for 30 people these are very big decisions at the moment, and they are not being made without some deliberation. Tuesday, however, saw a real change in tone – businesses are changing their outlook – we look forward to seeing this confidence increase”, explains broker Ratcliffe.
Government says businesses must “continue to take necessary precautions as restrictions ease.”
“This is chicken and egg – and the decisions are being steered by employees, not bosses. There is much hesitance to commit to anything. The feeling we are getting from UK businesses is that smaller more flexible workspaces are the way forward – the workplace has definitely changed, but it still has it’s place”, concludes Jonathan Ratcliffe from Offices.co.uk