The new ‘C’ word that arrived in 2020 – Covid-19 has brought with it changes to everyday life that we could never have imagined.
5 such changes are:
- The ‘new normal’ – being socially distanced (we all know what that means), not shaking hands or hugging others outside of your household or ‘bubble’
- Missed holidays overseas, limited travel and being apart from family and friends
- Hospitality closed – no meals out and the great British institution of the local Pub has not been accessible for months!
- We all have a new, must have, wardrobe addition – The Mask!
- Many people have been working from home in a spare bedroom turned into a study or kitchen/dining table
Whilst workers may no longer need to go into “The office”, it doesn’t mean that they won’t want to go into any office.
What was a novelty in Spring 2020 (great, I don’t have any commute time and can work in my comfy’s) may not be so appealing in Spring 2021 (I’m fed up of being stuck at home and need a routine)
With commuting out and remote working in, there has been, and will continue to be, a boom in out-of-town flexible workspaces. Co-working is projected to account for 12.5% of commercial real estate by 2023, with the highest levels of recent growth in regional areas such as the North West and Midlands.
But what does this mean for your business?
Undoubtedly the Pandemic has changed the way we all think about work. Although home working has given flexibility, businesses still need somewhere that can support collaboration and team building and where people can meet, train and be creative in a flexible and safe environment.
As business owners look to reduce travel, give employees flexibility but prevent the risk of infection – could the hub and spoke model provide the solution to the office and working dilemma?
The Hub and Spoke model, although not new, is becoming increasingly popular!
Traditionally, businesses have operated from a ‘Head Office’. The ‘hub and spoke’ model allows employees to work from their company’s main office – the hub – or from a regional location that is much closer to home – the spoke. While there are pluses to working from home, there are minuses too; from the limits of domestic broadband to feeling isolated. ‘Spokes’ offer freedom of choice, social interaction and amenities without the long commute or distractions of home working.
“The truth is, big companies have been doing hub-and-spoke for a while now,” says David Cairns, CBRE Senior Vice President, Office Leasing.
Although the model may not be new, the pandemic has resulted in more businesses, in all fields and all sizes, moving towards this decentralised model.
Adopting it means that companies downsize city centre office space, due to a reduction of its centralised workforce. The ‘hub’ acts as the cultural centre of the business in a core location, whereas the ‘spoke’ is a distributed network of small offices located based on employees and/or client demands.
When will the change be seen?
Time has been spent waiting and wondering what long-term impact the pandemic will have on business and property, but is the change to regional areas a trend we can be sure of?
If the past months have shown anything, it is that workers do want more flexibility from their workplace. To attract and retain top talent, organisations are offering employees more choice and shorter commutes, giving a better work/life balance and especially ideal for those with young families. The data supports this.
BizSpace, who provide regional flexible workspace across the whole of the UK, have experienced the same as we have at DBS Managed Offices – there has been an increased demand from companies looking to take staff out of city centre locations and place them in clusters; selecting areas for an office, between their homes. Likewise, UK office space rental agency, Free Office Finder, has reported a 45% increase in requirements for offices outside of the M25 since May 2020.
Change your strategy
Serviced offices have always provided flexible work space but now they are even more beneficial as they allow employers to test the waters of the hub-and-spoke model, before committing to a longer-term arrangement.
Now the vaccination process is well under way and everyone is looking forward to lockdown restrictions being lifted, the trends strongly suggest businesses are looking to relocate out of city centres to reduce travel, reduce the risk of the spread of infection and provide more flexibility.
DBS centres across the East Midlands are perfectly placed to meet the needs that businesses have, post pandemic, and to provide both ‘hub and spoke’ options with – high quality office space for the ‘hub’ that has business support services, high speed internet and onsite parking with drop in space, smaller offices and meeting rooms for the ‘spoke’ to give space to work, meet, collaborate (including remotely), interact and improve productivity.