Procurement · 26 January 2016

Firms advised to make better use of office space as London vacancies plummet

Vacancy rates in some parts of London have reached a 26-year low
Business owners in London have been advised to properly analyse the usage of current working spaces before rushing into moving to costly new premises, as the UK capital drops off the list of Europe’s top ten cities for property investment prospects.

Vacancy rates in London have fallen to a 26-year low in some parts of the city, yet according to management solutions firm Condeco, companies are not making proper use of existing office spaces meaning that firms may be moving to costly and unnecessary larger spaces.

Following reports earlier in January that London has now become the most expensive European city and the second most expensive in the world in which to build, new data gathered by Condeco found that businesses in the capital were using just 39 per cent of occupied office spaces on average.

Founder of Condeco Software, Paul Statham, advised that companies should carry out research and surveys to look into how well office space is used.

manual walk-through studies and qualitative research methods such as occupancy surveys are one of the ways in which businesses currently analyse space, he said. Workplace technology, such as sensors, can also provide a harder set of data which can help companies gain a fuller picture of office utilisation.

Commercial director at working space consultancy Unwork, Steve Jarvis, agreed that firms should use a combination of methods to make informed decisions about office space, recommending sensor technology to provide accurate occupancy data. This is essentially the future of workspace management, he said. Not only does it make for better efficiency in the office but allows companies to arrange their space to make collaboration easier, thus boosting productivity.

With demand for office rental space in London regularly outstripping supply, and with rental prices increasingly on the up, businesses may want to think more laterally about where operations are based. Business Advice has some alternative suggestions to working in the capital.

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Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.

HR & Employment