To Stay or Go: how businesses can plan for a future of blended working practices and multigeneration workplaces

To Stay or Go: how businesses can plan for a future of blended working practices and multigeneration workplaces

8th July 2024, 11:50 am

With the dust unlikely to settle anytime soon on the debate surrounding the future need for office space, there are multiple factors now influencing the decision making process on whether organisations should remain in their current premises or look to relocate into alternative workspace. David Laws, Partner and Head of Commercial Transactions at leading property consultancy Fisher German’s Manchester office explains some of the factors to consider in whether you should Stay or Go:

Critically, a key determinant will be where are you in the timeline of your existing lease and the timeframe you have to assess and examine your options. Whether you are approaching the formal lease expiry, a tenant break option or wish to explore a regear of the existing agreement, the key is to plan ahead – it’s never too early to start the conversation. There can be multiple obligations put upon tenants at the end of their lease term, or to action a valid a break option, all of which can require time, expert advice and cost.

What may appear to be a distant date in the future invariably isn’t and time will pass by all too quickly if collective decisions need to made, opinions canvassed, and options weighed up. Check and double check your existing lease commitments and break option conditions, penalties, and notice periods. The process should ideally start 12 months in advance – any later and you may find yourself having to make too many compromises.

For many, the workplace is no longer a somewhere solely for task specific, desk based activities and as organisations seek to encourage greater levels collaboration and cohesive activities, ask yourself if the opportunity exists to challenge the status quo and embrace these objectives and new ways of working.

In exploring this notion there are two key factors to consider whilst examining the need for workspace – Purpose and Expectation.

What is the purpose of having an office and what do we expect people to do once they are there?

The examination of purpose enables decisions to be made around what the space and its location needs to achieve for the people who will use it, over and above the corporate goals and objectives of the business. Perhaps more critically, how the space is to be used throughout the day, week or month. The outcome should be a solution that enables the office to be fully and meaningfully utilised Monday to Friday – anything less brings into question the sustainability of paying 100% for something which is only being used almost 50% of the time.

Expectation enables you to examine what is expected of people when they are using the space and is the location or workspace suitable in accommodating the function or activity that they are expected to perform? What will the space provide that the home solution can’t – that might simply be the presence of colleagues, better tech, training and development needs as well as ‘free’ heating or excellent coffee! Expectation should help avoid presenteeism and reducing stereotypical cultures.

In addressing the above, the solution could be that the current office has the potential to accommodate the future operational needs of the business, save as for some reconfiguration, modernisation, or installation of a different furniture solution.

In the current office market, tenants are arguably in an advantageous position. Demand for office space is not what it once was and as such tenants have the benefit of leverage in renegotiating their leases in return for some concession or inducement if they are committing to a longer term. In turn any concession can be re-invested by the tenant back into the space, thereby providing a new purposeful workplace without the distraction, inconvenience or cost of a relocation.

The matter of ESG should not be ignored. As organisations desire for their workspace to become increasingly efficient, the emerging narrative is now ‘less space, but better quality space’. A relocation will invariably present organisations to fully embrace their corporate ESG agendas, accepting that modern or new space demonstrate higher ESG credentials.

So how can you know if you are getting a good deal on your lease re-gear or renewal? As always the devil is in the detail and engaging expert advice early in the process will help navigate the process and fully understand your options.

Having experts like Fisher German on your side will help you understand your lease, how much you can negotiate, and ensure you are getting the fairest deal while maintaining an amicable relationship between you and your landlord.

Next Article

Enabling your teams to go Beyond Transactional

We all want to come to work, enjoy what do and feel that we’ve made a difference. Since the pandemic, […]
Read Article