As we enter 2016, it’s only natural to look towards the future to consider what issues are set to impact the office market in the coming 12 months. Although the commercial property sector appears to be stabilising recently following years of wild turbulence, this year looks set to see a range of issues impact the market, affecting areas including office space, quantity, quality and location.
– The Northern Powerhouse
The Conservative government spent the last election cycle trumpeting the Northern Powerhouse – the term for Parliament’s ambition to revolutionise the economy of the North of England in order to attract businesses. Many large organisations have moved their base of operations from London to the North – most notably the BBC – and as the Northern Powerhouse continues to grow, this trend looks set to continue.
– London commercial property prices
Nonetheless, London has been the main business hub of the UK for many centuries, and this is unlikely to change any time soon. However, the London commercial property market has seen values rise dramatically over recent years, spurned on by the cash of overseas property investors and a lack of new-build projects, and this is creating a real financial impetus for organisations of all forms to explore some of the UK’s other cities, where property can be far less expensive and business rates can be just a fraction of the price.
The modern business needs a dynamic workspace. Components and furnishings that can be moved around and mixed for different purposes provide versatility in the workplace, offering you the flexibility you need to create spaces for collaboration, communication and privacy.
This flexibility will not only benefit the business in the present, but will ensure that the business’ environment is equipped to respond to the requirements of the future. Considering the rapid pace of change within office design, especially when factoring in the potential implications of technology, preparing offices to be reactive to a range of scenarios is set to become increasingly in-demand and even necessary in the years to come.
These multipurpose spaces are ready to transform from one function to anyother when required, and can be used for presentations, meetings, break-out areas and everything in-between. A rising focus on non-assigned seating, wireless and remote working, hot-desking and other novel working techniques will make multipurpose spaces a firmly-established feature in the coming years.
Many office spaces now use lounge areas and other comfortable and relaxing zones as key workspaces, thanks to the growing power of wireless and seamlessly-embedded technology. If you’re considering a full redesign of your office space, then you’ll almost certainly want to create the perfect environment, and through wi-fi and in-built charger ports, people will be able to work from anywhere in the office and communicate with each other effortlessly.
– Grade A office space
As the UK’s economy slowly gets back to its feet, companies are boosting investments in features that can promote employee morale and retention. Grade A office spaces, with air conditioning, lifts, raised flooring, suspended ceilings and a prime location to operate from, are typically more expensive to rent, but many businesses feel that the improvements Grade A offices make to their staff is worth the increased overheads.
Not only do these high-quality office spaces offer full compliment specifications, with staff enjoying access to plenty of amenities, they are also made with materials of the best quality, and have been built recently to take advantage of the numerous innovations in architecture recent years have seen.
Developers may be reporting spikes in their demand for grade A office space, but the supply for these buildings is still too low, especially in Northern Cities such as Newcastle, Leeds and Liverpool, which are supposed to soon see economic improvements. But as developments kick off and complete, and new building projects begin, companies in the UK could soon see a slow but steady growth in the number of Grade A offices to choose from.
– Grade B and C office space
Depending on your requirements, you may be more interested in Grade B and Grade C offices. While the standards of Grade B and Grade C buildings may be notably different to each other, with Grade C merely considered ‘functional’, some companies have grown nervous around money, and are unwilling to invest in a high-quality office space.
With careful design and some simple energy efficient upgrades, a Grade B office space can be made comfortable and warm, with the resilience it needs to remain at a reasonable temperature throughout the year and the design features it needs to make staff feel at home. If you’re considering a lower-grade office, just think about the simple renovations that could make a big difference to the premises!
Come 2016, it might feel just as hard to get a new office space as it ever did. An analysis from Schroders found that some commentators believe that the market could be peaking at the moment. The last three years have seen capital values increase by 35%, and some analysts believe this could not continue indefinitely.
New commercial property developments still seem to be confined to London – despite the promises of the Northern Powerhouse – and even the City of London is seeing less redevelopment plans in 2016 than it normally would. This is creating a rolling array of problems in the commercial property sector – not only is the number of development projects failing to match demand, but the building industry is becoming less and less lucrative and is currently employing 10% fewer people than it did before the global financial downturn. Should the economy fully rise to its feet, the construction industry could still be in turmoil.
So it seems that the lack of quantity in the commercial property and office sales market is set to remain a difficult issue for years in the future. This is making many businesses choose to ‘improve, rather than move’, and with our assistance, you’ll be able to make your current office space look and feel fresh and new almost effortlessly.