By Chris Waight MRICS, Consultant Director, Constructive Space
The workplace has evolved at pace following the pandemic and businesses of all sizes are considering how much office space they require in a hybrid enabled world.
As inflation and the cost of living continues to put pressure on the bottom line, workspace is firmly in the spotlight as executives seek to reduce operational costs and optimise holdings.
Therefore the core trend we are seeing is one of downsizing. Whether you’re a FTSE 100 company or an SME in a serviced office. Companies are looking at how they can optimise their office accommodation costs as hybrid working models settle to a new normal.
Finding the right balance of WFH vs in office working
The holy grail of any business leader for 2023 and beyond is striking a balance of reducing operational cost whilst maintaining productivity in the longer term. Whether you’re a diehard office fan or homeworker forever, finding the right balance which supports your culture, development and retention of staff and clients is no mean feat.
There is no right or wrong way of finding this balance, but it is recommended you seek external support via a workspace consultant and commercial office expert to you help understand what is likely to work best for the individual needs of your business.
What strategies are being deployed?
1. Taking additional or less space at lease break or expiry
2. Subletting space
3. Exiting leased or freehold into flexible office space
4. Sharing space
5. Selling freehold building into ‘rightsized’ freehold or leased office
6. Going fully remote working
These are some of the main strategies being deployed in commercial real estate.
Top considerations when looking to rightsize your office space
It is advisable to start by setting up an internal property steering committee with representation from HR, IT and property and finance as well as a senior exec sponsor. This group will likely meet at regular intervals from project inception to completion. The below 5 points provide some pointers on where to start and how to achieve your goals.
1. Understanding your requirements
Every business will have their own individual requirements and each team in the organisation will have varying needs to be office based or WFH. Enlisting the help of a workplace consultant is a useful starting point to get under the skin of how much space you require now against what you might need, in say, 3-5 years’ time.
If you have a lease event on the horizon you will need to engage a commercial agent to help identify alternative accommodation in the market and benchmark the cost of your current premises against new potential options.
2. Weighing up your preferred option
Once you have pinned down an office reduction strategy you will need to further analyse your options around this strategy. Your commercial agent will work with you to either exit your current premises into smaller premises or assist in subletting your existing premises assuming you are in leasehold space.
Once you have assembled your stay versus go options you will be able to benchmark the costs involved in each option against intangible factors such as staff retention, business interruption and cultural change.
3. Leveraging technology
The rise of property related technology (Proptech) has meant that decisions can now be underpinned by an abundance of data. It is now possible to analyse everything from air quality to meeting room utilisation, this information can help shape all aspects of your new enabled hybrid office environment.
4. Office design
Whether you stay in your existing space and sublet or downsize to a new office location you are likely to incorporate more dynamic features with technology that supports hybrid working. Current design trends are to incorporate more areas to concentrate, collaborate, connect and recharge. Getting the design of your new office right will be crucial in delivering your services, seeking expert advice is a price worth paying to ensure you’re incorporating features which will add value to your space.
5. Enlist a team of experts
Depending on the scale of your business enlisting the right team of property experts will help safeguard the success of any rightsizing project you engage in.
In summary, having the right people assembled to manage the project and a clear vision are two important factors in considering your rightsizing journey.
Constructive Space have over 45 years’ experience in optimising our clients’ workplaces.
Please do get in touch for any assistance managing and delivering your workspace at firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch the webinar
We’ve recently held our webinar, “How are charities rightsizing their offices in a hybrid world?”.
Hosted in collaboration with TSP and WKspace, delve deeper into the topic of rightsizing and learn more about the strategies to rightsize, the current state of the market and future workplace trends.
Follow the link below to watch the webinar on demand: