The increasing appeal of carparking and the ability to social distance has led to a rise in enquiries for out of town office locations as companies look to shift from city centres.
“I wouldn’t say people are deserting cities, but what we are seeing is a clear short-term spike in interest in office sites with car parking and smaller private office suites,” said Jonathan Ratcliffe from office agency Offices.co.uk.
He added that “it’ll be interesting to see if this continues into the medium-term”.
The Post-COVID office market is quite different to what it was before. Employers are listening to what their staff are asking for, and there is a clear shift away from busy areas and public transport.
Out of town sites are usually on the outskirts of town with good transport links, enjoy more green space and are ideal for those now driving to work.
“City centres are usually extremely poor for car parking, so if you are travelling by car to work, as we all are currently, you want to a direct commute and a car parking space,2 said Mr Ratcliffe.
“People are actively avoiding other people on public transport. Car parking is the key feature tenants are asking for now.”
The demand for large physical office space in town and city centres is set to reduce as the trend for remote working gathers pace – however it is thought some form of office will still be required.
Out of town demand is increasing now, as face-to-face meetings go virtual and therefore a city location becomes less important.
Large corporates are also looking outside of City centres, with trends such as ‘Hub-and-Spoke’ – a city centre HQ with supporting flexible hubs in the suburbs, demonstrating a trend away from busy cities turbo-charged by the COVID-19 panic.
“City centres are in a quandary, we know once a vaccine has been developed and the fear has gone that they will once again thrive, “ said Mr Ratcliffe, “but for now it’s all about cars and smaller private offices for those wanting to get back to work.”