Construction uncertainty drives workspace reviews
A recent report from the construction industry suggest that there will be little or no growth in construction output during 2017-18, followed by just a slight increase of 2% in 2019 (mainly thanks to planned government infrastructure projects).
More significantly for business, a report from the Construction Products Association (CPA) forecasts that office construction will decline by 15% in 2018 and another 5% in 2019 – and that this decline may be accelerated further if the UK does not secure a deal to remain part of the EU Single Market.
What this will mean for the commercial rental market is not clear, and the uncertainty is compounded by the fact that companies are already awaiting progress on the Brexit talks before making decision on their future real estate portfolios.
What we do know however is that many businesses are responding to the lack of clarity by reviewing their current position with detailed workspace reviews.
The value of workspace utilisation data
With reliable inventories of space and workspace utilisation data, organisations will be better placed to develop and quickly implement a coherent workplace strategy once external factors such as Brexit are better understood.
The growth in use of workspace reviews and optimisation toolkits like Excel’s own DeskQUERY™ is clear evidence of this, as businesses strive for a clearer understanding of when, where and how their people are working.
What is at stake is more than simply space and cost control. Many of the organisations at the frontline of Brexit and property uncertainty are in sectors – such as financial services – which place a huge emphasis on the recruitment and retention of the very best talent.
Workplace optimisation is proven to play a significant role in recruitment and talent strategy, so if we see a reduction in new office buildings coming to market, companies will need to be ready to transform existing environments, delay relocations or consolidate in ways which will most support – or least disrupt – their people and operations.
If we also see a Brexit outcome that triggers even more dramatic real estate responses – such as relocation from the UK into one or more remaining EU countries – a clear understanding of existing and future workplace requirements could become even more important and even more urgent.
Whatever the future holds, business knows only too well that part of any effective response to uncertainty is to audit and review the current situation. Only then will they be ready to make rapid and informed decisions when the fog finally begins to lift.