Impact of rates on workspace strategy

This April sees the first rates re-evaluation since 2010 and it likely to have a signifiant impact on many businesses notably those in London where sharp rises in rates are anticipated. This change in costs for companies is going to have a major impact on decisions made on their workspace. This might drive a need to move and downsize or to try and get more from their existing property. But should more businesses look at their workspace strategy to thinking differently about the options?

In recent years, we have seen trends around the value of multi-functional working spaces, agile working and providing users with choice over how and where they work gaining increasing recognition. The performance and wellbeing benefits of these have been well discussed including how they can positively impact the bottom line. However, the commercial pressures seem to be rolling back the willingness of organisations to consider these improvements to the workspace: the recent Gensler workspace survey suggested that the numbers of people feeling they had choice in where they worked was actually declining.

So are financial pressures, like forthcoming rates increases, just going to put more emphasis on revisiting “how many more people can we fit in this space?”

workspace strategyWe hope not. While efficient use of space is always a goal, we think that continuing to aim to get the best from your people should be the highest goal and the quality of the workspace plays a key part in this. So the stage could be set for seeing how more imaginative and innovative workplace strategy can be used to examine new ways of working, innovative technology and other changes that don’t sacrifice the working experience of staff.

The benefit of good workspace strategy is in getting to understand how people work in your business and to have some space to explore changes and what they might mean. With many pieces of strategic consulting it is also often beneficial to stay away from design for as long as possible – looking in more abstract ways at your processes and needs can give new insights which are lost as soon as the drawing board comes out and we are looking at layouts of space.

So have a think about taking a more strategic and wider perspective before you make up your mind if you can fit two more desks in that corner.


David Watts

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