West End offices set to boom as companies slowly return to the capital

The West End is the fastest recovering area in London for commercial office space.

It’s the only area to surpass its January 2020 demand levels, as office platform Kitt revealed that enquiries have bounced back by 132% since then.

Steve Coulson, chief executive and co-founder of Kitt, said “Despite the uncertainty of the market, we are seeing positive signs that companies are using this time to reassess their needs and figure out how to encourage people back when it is safe to do so.

“However, the offices they want to return to are radically different spaces compared to 12 months ago, as businesses look to create a space worth leaving home for.

“Some have swapped out desks for lounge spaces, collaboration zones, coffee areas and even garden space. While the recovery is slow, 2021 is looking positive for the return of office life.”

Southbank has the second best recovery rate at 56%, while the City and midtown areas, including Holborn, Clerkenwell and Farringdon sit on the lower end of the spectrum at 38% respectively.

The worst hit is the Eastern City Fringe, with offices in Shoreditch and Old Street continuing to remain vacant.

This key part of East London, which is the home to many leading technology companies, has experienced a 65% drop in enquiries between January and September, as many of the companies have been quick to adapt to remote working.

However, despite having the lowest recovery rate, projections for the New Year are positive, with an expectation of a strong return in 2021, as the creative spaces and mainline transport links continue to be key criteria for companies looking to venture back into the office.

Major players, such as Netflix and Amazon, have committed to leases in the capital, despite the fact that they will not be returning until 2021, but this appetite for space is not just limited to large companies, with enquiries from businesses of 21-80 people increasing 117% over since the pandemic.

This increase comes as many businesses are moving away from shared co-working spaces, choosing instead to have a Covid-secure workspace.

Demand for self-contained offices is on the rise, with requests jumping up by 175% in October alone and desk space density dropping by 20% as companies factor in social distancing measures.