It's interesting to see that Barclays, a large commercial occupier, is asking itself if the 'big office' has had its day.
Barclays are considering a strategy of converting unwanted retail banking space into offices; so, is decentralisation of the work force, combined with increased agile and home working, going to kill the big office model?
Clearly real estate is a major overhead and business will be currently looking at ways to reduce their costs. However bringing staff together in one location can have many benefits - cross pollination of ideas, easy collaboration, learning and development, social interaction and building a firm wide culture.
Staff are increasingly demanding better spaces in which to work, socialise and spend, what is often, most of their time. Health and well-being are as important to many as salary and bonuses. How will businesses look to address these concerns, while asking employees to spend increasing amounts of time away from the office and colleagues?
Working from home is here to stay, but there remains an underlying need for offices. With the supply of prime office space at an all time low, firms will need to think carefully before rushing to reduce their office space, which may be hard to replace. Increased home working will also give an opportunity to move away from hyper-dense floor space ratios and to rethink the office. If Covid-19 has shown anything, it is that space is important.
"The notion of putting 7,000 people in the building may be a thing of the past."