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Workthere Reports Demand for Flexible Office Space up 48% on Pre-Covid Levels as Confidence Returns

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22/07/2021

Flexible office specialist, Workthere, has reported that it has seen UK enquiries for flexible office space increase 48% on pre-Covid levels, indicating a renewed appetite in the sector. This rise in demand is also supported by growth in positive sentiment, with Workthere’s latest survey* showing that 79% of respondents are optimistic about the next three months and 100% are optimistic about the sector for the next 12 months.

Jack Williamson, head of Workthere UK, comments: 

“The strong increase in both the demand levels that we have seen at Workthere and sentiment support the trend we expected to see as we ease out of restrictions and indicate a renewed appetite for the sector. The significant rise in demand also reflects the high proportion of pent-up demand that was waiting to move back into serviced office space having not renewed a contract during the pandemic.”

When analysing where demand is coming from in H121, Workthere found that those individuals previously working from home, but were now seeking a co-working desk or private office, accounted for 22%. This figure eclipses groups that had seen a larger share of enquiries in previous years such as lease expiries and new business. It also coincides with the fact that in H121, the average number of desks required by Workthere clients was 10, which was driven down from 13 in H120 by the volume of enquiries for smaller one and two desk requirements.

Workthere’s research shows that the increase in the demand has resulted in upward pressure on pricing with the average cost per private office desk during the first half of the year at £431, which is 10.5% up on the same time last year, albeit still down on the level of £464 in 2019. London has seen the average price per private office desk grow by 9% this year, however, it is the cities outside of London, where supply for flexible office space is more constrained, that has seen the biggest change, with Workthere reporting a 63% YoY to £254 for the regional market.

Cal Lee, Global head of Workthere, says:

“While the average cost for a private desk in the UK is still down on pre-Covid levels, we are seeing the early signs of recovery in the flexible office market where the uptick in demand has led to prices beginning to recover from the low of 2020 and there is still time for them to reach the levels seen before the pandemic. This is supported by the fact that our survey reports that daily occupancy levels have increased and are now averaging 52%, which is double that of this time last year, with the expectation of it rising to 68% by the end of July. This is extremely encouraging and, barring any further lockdowns, we expect this trend to continue."

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