Working from home could make up to a fifth of London office space redundant | Commercial property
Up to a fifth of office space in London and the South East of England may not be needed in the post-pandemic working world, according to a property survey, as employees spend less time at their desks .
New workplace flexibility offered to staff by their employers could leave office buildings empty in UK cities, property consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) found in its latest office market report, as businesses were reducing the amount of space they rented.
A 20% reduction in office space needed by businesses, compared to pre-Covid, amounts to approximately 26m² of square feet, which equates to more than 15 times the amount of office space in Skyscraper One 50-storey Canada Square at Canary Wharf in London, or more than double the total stock of the Reading office market.
After spending months working from home during the pandemic, office workers are reluctant to spend the entire week at their workplace and are asking their employer if they can continue to work remotely at least part of the time.
Only 15% of the 50 companies that contributed to the LSH survey, which focused mainly on London and the South East, said their staff spent at least four days a week in the office, compared to 90% before the pandemic, despite the lifting of all coronavirus restrictions.
Just under half of employers (43%) said staff only come to the office two days a week, while nearly a third (29%) said the most common attendance rate was three days a week.
As a result, office occupants are thinking about how much office space they need after Covid and what kind of space they need.
Many employers are looking for higher quality office space, LSH found, in an effort to encourage workers to return to their desks for at least part of the week.
Ryan Dean, head of office advice at LSH, said tenants faced a “lack of options that really ticked all the boxes” as they sought quality space in convenient locations with good environmental credentials. , social and governance.
He said: ‘There just isn’t a whole lot of choice and where it is available occupiers are willing to pay a handsome premium to secure it.
However, LSH found that some of the office space no longer needed could be converted into homes or data centers to house computer systems.