22 Feb Serviced Offices in a Post-Lockdown World
As we transition out of lockdown, we look at the growing role of serviced offices in providing solutions to post-lockdown working.
We have always run an innovative business, constantly adapting to the changing needs of our clients. We have been around since the financial crisis of 2008 pushed businesses toward flexible working space that didn’t require long leases. Since then we have never stopped looking for ways to increase the flexibility of our offering. Of course, never is adaptability and agility more important than in a crisis. Our long-cultivated willingness to see alternatives to the standard office set-up will come in useful post-lockdown as we help clients, especially our new clients, change their business models, provide more suitable space to their employees and upgrade their overall office experience.
Nobody ever thought we’d see it, but even large companies- the social media giants and banks- have given up the idea of having all employees in a single space. For a lot of smaller companies, the financial hit of lockdown has meant long term leases are now out of the question anyway. It has been a learning curve for all involved; all those employees who never before had a choice of where to carry out their work, other than in one big office, five days a week. Without a doubt, many have thrived in an enforced home environment, but equally many have struggled with the challenges of children, noise, distraction, loneliness, lack of productivity and real dynamic interaction…..and (guilty here too), plain old overeating!
Sadly, mental health has taken a battering from lockdown. It’s a topic which merits a blog- if not an encyclopaedia- of its own, but suffice to say there are huge and life-affirming benefits of having a place to come and work each day, an escape from the loneliness and monotony of home working. As well as providing a hub for genuinely exciting work-centred interaction; the brainstorming, the bouncing-off of ideas, the way an overheard grumble over a desk can lead to a helpful solution or titbit of useful insider information offered by a colleague. We’ve all missed it. Doing this safely is where we come in, willing to work with clients to create the exact spaces they need, with adequate social distancing and good hygiene practices.
At the same time, there will be those still shielding or just uncomfortable in any working environment outside their own home for some time to come, and so home working will continue. It is all part of a complex new situation.
When people think of serviced office users they tend to think of start-ups, or the local accountants, small marketing, importing or recruitment companies, and independent financial advisors: the ‘small business clientele’. We certainly have plenty of those here as clients. But interestingly, recently we’ve had specific new interest from larger businesses seeking to set up ‘hubs’ of coworking space outside of their main city offices. Being within commuting distance of London as well as Reading, we are ideally placed to offer offices to employees close to their homes. For example, a big Reading-based company is likely to have quite a few employees living in Wokingham and around the immediate area. It’s a solution that cuts out the long commutes that people are now less willing to do post-lockdown, as well as cost-effective for bigger companies who don’t need everybody in one building anymore.
The result of all of this, going into the second quarter of 2021, is a hybrid working environment for companies and the individuals who work for them. The idea of a purposefully distributed workspace is winning out. A mix of remote and physical working environments will triumph, and serviced offices will be a crucial part of that picture.
Luke Bolt, our Managing Director summarises: “In our industry, we’ve observed a long-term trend for companies to avoid long leases and heavy financial commitments involving property, much preferring the type of flexible agreement we offer through our serviced offices. Right now, with the unique circumstances of Covid and all the uncertainty, this trend is accelerating faster, and pushing companies into decisive action, even ones that never considered our services before. Serviced offices, innovative as ever, will play a huge role in the new hybrid working environment. Given what we’ve already seen in terms of new business, this is only going to continue at a brisk pace throughout 2021 and into the future”.
Here at Mantle Ltd we offer serviced offices, virtual office and meeting rooms at our Business Centre in Wokingham, Berkshire. For any queries email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0118 977 8599