COVID-19 STRATEGIES

Surviving COVID-19 in the office property market (and thriving in the fallout) - 4 strategies to meet the new needs of office occupants


The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that businesses across the UK have been forced to adapt to a fully remote workforce.

With offices across the country sitting empty for a potentially long period of time, when normality does return many businesses will be questioning the point of having a traditional office space.

For the commercial property market, the question of what the role of the office is in a post-Coronavirus world will be a fundamental and important question.

This pandemic won’t mean the death of the office but it will undoubtedly mean evolution in how they’re used. Specifically, we expect that traditional occupants will be seeking greater flexibility and efficiency from their offices.

Instead of signing long-term leases on offices just because it’s ‘what’s done’, occupants will consider what they need from their workspace. They’ll realise that they’re trying to buy productivity, not square feet.

As an asset manager, operator, or investor, consider what you could give potential occupants with a flexible office space that the traditional office format can’t. Flexibility, productivity, and community are going to be at the top of their want list.

If you can offer them these things, you’re perfectly poised to thrive as we all re-adapt to the new (post-Coronavirus) normal. To capitalise on your serendipitous positioning, though, it’s essential that you market yourself effectively. How?

  1. Be proactive and human

It’s fair to say that the Coronavirus outbreak and the immediate fallout shook us all and now, more than ever, is the time to be empathetic. Pre-empt the questions or requests potential occupants might make, consider what they might want from a workspace but haven’t thought of, be aware that they’re potentially fearful, and market accordingly.

  1. Create new solutions

What is the USP of your flexible workplace that could help occupants thrive? How have other occupants used the space to attract and retain talent? What will working in a flexible space look like for workforces that have previously only known traditional offices? Is it the ability to reserve desks for colleagues or clients visiting, recording studios with an on-site technician, a peaceful place for a lunchtime walk, or something else entirely?

  1. Exploit market gaps

If you can figure out what potential occupants your competitors aren’t focused on – potentially small companies that have been forgotten by the commercial space sector and who most need help – you’ve found your gaps. These businesses have likely been underserved in traditional offices for years. Show them what they’ve been missing.

  1. Build a physical and virtual community

Make yourself a hub for your occupants, building a community rather than an office complex. Building a fan base is especially important in emerging sectors like coworking and flexible offices. Ideas for building a community in your space include hosting virtual group calls, providing lunch and learn sessions, creating Facebook groups, and building forums or community pages for occupants to chat amongst themselves.

This pandemic has shown that the world of work is ready for change. If businesses decide they want to ditch expensive permanent office space, be there to catch them as they look for their future workspace. Be flexible where others aren’t and, most importantly, be relevant.

If you want to talk about how you can adapt your placemaking and marketing strategy to suit the current market, give us a call. We’d love to help you do what we do best – turn spaces into places.

LET'S CHAT
What went wrong in the UK coworking market? – A review of 2019 and outlook for 2020

What went wrong in the UK coworking market? – A review of 2019 and outlook for 2020