After closing out what became one of the most memorable and challenging years in recent history, the UK flexible office market is entering 2021 with optimism.
“Unsurprisingly we did not foresee a global pandemic in our 2020 predictions for the sector this time last year,” said Cal Lee, global head of Workthere. “However, whilst the flexible office market has been profoundly affected by the pandemic due to the short terms nature of contracts and a general shift to people working remotely, it has arguably been more robust than people might have given it credit for.”
According to Workthere’s Sentiment Survey, UK contract occupancy was 68% at the end of November, which is down from 84% pre-pandemic.
Moving forward, Workthere predicts that there will be a small growth in demand for day passes for meeting room spaces, which could boost deals in the flexible office sector.
In the second half of 2021, it is anticipated that there will be a record number of companies taking up flexible office space as they look to adopt more agility in their portfolio and do not want to commit to a long-term lease.
Additionally, Workthere expects that desk prices in central city locations will rise as operators look to become more competitive. In the second part of the year, demand is anticipated to grow and supply to reduce.
However, suburban locations will likely maintain their strength. In fact, demand for UK suburban flexible offices accounted for a quarter of total demand according to Workthere’s October sentiment survey.