Boost expected for flexible workspace outside towns and cities

Biz Space

BizSpace, the UK’s largest provider of regional flexible workspace, is anticipating a boost for the regional economy around its Gloucester Barnwood site as more companies look for office space away from city centres following the covid-19 pandemic.

BizSpace has seen a spike in interest in space at its 105 centres across the UK, which are principally in non-city-centre locations. In June, it recorded 26 per cent more enquiries than its pre-lockdown average, with sales 36% higher. June was also the firm’s best month ever in terms of unique visitors to, and sales via, its website.

The company, which has traditionally provided space for start-ups and smaller businesses, has launched a new arm that will look to partner with companies looking for temporary overflow space, offices their staff can reach without using public transport, or longer-term arrangements that give employees access to workspaces, rather than working from home.

Gareth Evans, BizSpace’s CEO, said: “As we start to come out of the pandemic, the sense we’re getting is that people don’t just want to go back to how things were before. Working from home has had its challenges and they miss the collaborative element of the office, but they’ve enjoyed the increased flexibility, want to carry on seeing their families more, and don’t want to lose an hour or more commuting every day. This new part of our business responds to significant current demand and will see us work with larger firms to put together packages that meet their specific needs. We’re already working with several companies who are looking to have a smaller central hub, where people might work when they have meetings, combined with the opportunity to work from a range of local workspaces the rest of the time.”

As occupiers reassess their property strategies, Knight Frank estimates that £1 billion of the £4 billion of deals under offer across London have been withdrawn since lockdown began, with a further £500 million paused.

Analysts at Moody’s have also predicted a drop in demand for office space in cities, forecasting that tenants will want more flexible workspace and that demand for physical space in urban areas is likely to decline.