Changing office trends – the key issues

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By Daniel Tannenbaum

With millions usually flooding into offices across the nation on a daily basis, the pandemic is going to see some interesting changes and developments in this trend.

By no means will offices disappear, but certainly the way that people approach their offices fees, contracts and cleanliness will be transformed.

With the threat of coronavirus still there and potentially looming, the role of hygiene and working in close spaces is under the microscope.

People might start to add pandemic clauses into their office agreement

The first issue to tackle is space. Some offices require staff to work in very close proximity to each other, such as trading floors or customer service teams and sometimes these premises lack ventilation. And in the case of flexible workspaces, how do people currently feel about using a desk that was used by someone else just five minutes earlier?

New procedures must now be put into place, whether it is more regular cleaning schedules, limiting yourself to just one desk space or putting staff on rotas to avoid overcrowding.

Office space to rent will still be in demand – since some businesses require staff to be on site, whether they have access to software or machinery that is only available on location or whether they have to unite teams in several locations, ie: parts of London.

The demand for office space may come from small companies looking to scale-up during the pandemic, or from larger companies looking to scale down. But similar to the residential property market, people are always moving for life-changing reasons.

The era of remote working will continue to thrive, since many workers have not understandably confirmed their preference to work from home. At the same time, companies of all sizes are acknowledging the cost savings and effectiveness of home working too.

However, the use of everyday offices still prevails, especially for busy parents who need a separate space to work outside the home, interns, graduates and those on training programmes who need the face-to-face interaction. Not to mention those that handle sensitive data or need to deal with clients in person.

Office contracts may be reviewed or see notable changes in order to account for a changing work environment.

“People might start to add pandemic clauses into their office agreements,” explains Dan Kramer of Kramer Sullivan.

“Many people have been tied into difficult or expensive lease contracts or rental agreements when coronavirus hit and it has had a profound impact on many retailers, restaurants and those working in offices.

“With the pending risk of a second wave of coronavirus, we may start to see people putting specific clauses into their office or rental agreements if they have to shut up shop very quickly or unexpectedly. This would certainly help people save money and in some places, save their business from going under.”