73% of UK business leaders predict office downsizing

Senior business decision makers expect COVID-19 to result in more businesses downsizing to smaller offer spaces over the coming 12 months, research by Accumulate Capital has revealed.

An independent survey of more than 500 senior decision-makers at companies found that 73% expect businesses to downsize as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Paul Howells, chief executive of Accumulate Capital, said: “Today’s research demonstrates just how COVID-19 is affecting both the UK’s businesses and its commercial real estate market.

“As a result of the pandemic, businesses clearly no longer look at offices and commercial property in the same way, which will have significant implications for property developers and commercial landlords.

“The increase in remote working will likely see businesses look to smaller, more flexible workspaces.

“The days when a company would own or rent an office with a desk in it for each and every member of staff are coming to an end – in reality, this trend was already taking shape, but the coronavirus crisis has greatly accelerated it.”

Almost two-fifths (37%) of decision-makers said their business is planning to relocate to a smaller commercial space in the next year. With there being less emphasis on employees working from the office, the same number (37%) are looking to relocate to a new location with cheaper rent.

Half (50%) of businesses admitted their preferences for commercial premises have changed. The majority (58%) believe working from home will become the new norm, while 45% of businesses do not see a situation where all their employees will be working in the office at the same time.

However the research also found that 57% of businesses will still rely on a physical workspace in order to network and collaborate with partners and prospective clients.