EGi has reported this week that the UK’s office sector has seen its worst quarter for rent collection since the beginning of the pandemic.
No one really knows how the return-to-the-office will play out in reality, and different businesses are likely to have their different plans and structures in place for welcoming back their employees to the office. Most businesses recognise that staff interaction, team cohesion and a vibrant learning environment have all suffered over the last year. It’s possible that some people are still hesitant to travel into work until everyone has had their two vaccinations, and unenforced mask wearing on public transport might also be making some people nervous.
This coupled with people going on holiday means there is perhaps little appetite from many to get back into the office in August. EGi do note, however, that ‘landlords have reason to be optimistic for a bounce in the next quarter’. Indeed, there is movement in the office sector, with examples including a 162,000 sq ft development in Whitechapel, East London, by Frasers Property, and also plans by CO-RE for a major redevelopment plan on Fleet Street which will offer roughly 544,000 sq ft office space and 18,300 sq ft retail space, across 21 floors.
There are, therefore, still reasons to have faith in a strong and healthy office sector, evidenced by plans for new developments.