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Enquiry levels for UK flexible offices up 37% in July

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28/07/2020

According to the latest provider sentiment survey from Workthere, enquiry levels for flexible offices in the UK have rebounded strongly in July to an average of 45% of normal levels, up from 8% in April. The flexible office specialist also reports a switch in the main demand driver with occupiers looking for suburban office space taking the lead. Companies downsizing from a lease has dropped down into second place, with occupiers looking for swing space and those needing extra space due to social distancing in joint third and corporates taking regional / HQ space in fourth place.

The UK’s increase in enquiry levels for flexible space is also reflected on a global scale with enquiries at 44% of normal levels internationally, up from 20% in April and 28% in May.

Freddie Ward, associate director at Workthere, comments:

The continued increase in enquiry levels in the UK, and across the globe, demonstrates the growing confidence we are beginning to see across the flexible office market. It is also interesting to note the range of enquiries being reported by providers with some at 15% of normal levels and others at 70%, indicating that some are inevitably coming back a lot stronger than others.

Jessica Alderson, global research analyst at Workthere, adds:

It is also very interesting to see a change at the top in terms of where demand is coming from. At the beginning of the year, one of our predictions was that we would see a rise in the popularity of more rural and suburban locations for flexible office space, but we could not have predicted how this trend would have been substantially accelerated as a result of Covid-19. We expect that it is now a trend that is here to stay as we get used to a new way of working.

In terms of sentiment, Workthere’s survey confirms that UK providers are more positive in July with 41% optimistic about the next three months, against 29% in May. It also notes that fewer members of flexible space are asking for rent relief with just 35% requiring support in July compared to 53% in April. In contrast to this, the survey also found that the number of members choosing not to renew contracts in the UK has increased marginally from 15% in April to 19% in July, albeit contract occupancy has remained relatively resilient.