The “new normal” is a term readily used to describe the enduring changes COVID-19 has brought to society.
While the Government is actively introducing reforms to bring about the economic recovery of the state, consumers, investors and business leaders have accepted that things will not return to the way they were before the pandemic.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. During the lockdown, businesses across all industries and sectors were forced to adapt to a new working situation none had experienced before. The majority of the workforce were working from home, and this has resulted in many internal processes changing to accommodate people’s ability to work and communicate with colleagues and clients online.
The experience has of course differed depending on the industry. Nonetheless, the lockdown has revealed how businesses can act more efficiently and creatively, supporting their overall growth and ability to innovate.
This will have a significant influence on the commercial property market. Business demands are changing, and there is a need for construction firms through to commercial property landlords to identify these demands and accommodate them.
To explore this issue in greater depth, Accumulate Capital recently surveyed over 500 senior business decision-makers to find out how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected UK businesses and their commercial property needs.
The results were timely and provide useful insight for those of us who are involved in the commercial real estate sector. Of the decision leaders we surveyed, just under three-quarters (73%) said COVID-19 will result in more UK businesses downsizing to smaller office spaces in the coming 12 months. What’s more, 37% of those surveyed admitted they are planning to relocate to a smaller commercial space themselves.
When it comes to preferences, half (50%) of UK business leaders acknowledge their needs for commercial working spaces have changed significantly as a result of COVID-19. This is no doubt due to the ability of many businesses to have their workforce working from home, either full-time or on a rotating basis. Indeed, 58% of those we surveyed believe working from home will become the norm.
There is still plenty of uncertainty on the horizon. As we slowly transition out of lockdown, there is a chance of a second outbreak of coronavirus cases and the reintroduction of strict social distancing measures. Nonetheless, the Accumulate Capital research shows that regardless of immediate events, preferences towards commercial property has changed. For this reason, it is vital for commercial property developers and landlords to be one step ahead and ensure they are catering to these changing needs.