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Why (and How) You Should Think About Your Office Strategy During Lockdown

Hannah Watkins
Hannah Watkins|

If you were looking for new office space before COVID-19, you may well have put the brakes on your plans for a number of reasons. For one, lockdown has made it difficult to view offices in person. For another, the far-reaching effects of the crisis may have required you to re-evaluate business strategy—and that includes your workspace plans.

That said, there are still a number of things you can do now to ensure that you’re fully prepared for when things start to return to normal. 

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Why now?

Your team is working from home and things are, on the whole, going alright. Your post-lockdown office space strategy is probably the last thing on your mind. 

But here are a few things worth considering:

  • An office search can often be a hectic and urgent process. Starting now could give you some breathing room, and ensure that you have time to do things properly.
  • It’s likely to be busy once lockdown ends, with many businesses resuming office searches or newly on the market. As such, companies who know what they want in advance will be better placed to secure their workspace sooner rather than later.
  • Your situation may have changed since quarantine started, in which case this is a good time to establish a new plan of action regarding your workspace strategy. If this is the case, feel free to give our experts a call—they can advise you on what’s the best approach for your business.
  • And if you are in a position to sign a contract right now, there are some highly competitive and flexible deals on the market. You won’t have to pay rent on an empty office, either—many providers are allowing businesses to sign now, but move in and start paying after lockdown.

Whether it means starting your online search, reassessing your plans, or putting the wheels in motion for subletting your excess space, there are many things you can take action on when it comes to your office strategy, even from the comfort and safety of your own home. 

Establish your needs—have they changed?

Regardless of whether you’re in a position to choose and sign a workspace right now, there are still things you can do in advance. 

Talk to your team

The current situation may well have changed how your employees view your office space.

Some may love working from home, whilst others may be craving to be back in the hubbub of the office. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to check in with your team to see if this changes what you need to look for in your office space. Is their commute time now a deal-breaker? Are extensive cleaning facilities now a top priority?

And importantly, would some of the team be keen to hot desk and have a WFH rota? After all, if a significant proportion is considering working from home on a regular basis, you may not even need as big an office—which could, in turn, save you money.

Work environment is critical in attracting and retaining top talent, so using this time to check back in with your team can pay dividends in the future.

Re-evaluate your strategy

Coronavirus is having unpredictable effects on businesses in all industries. If your circumstances have changed as a result—for instance, if you need to downsize, halt growth plans, or even the exact opposite, you can talk to our team of experts to talk through the best approach going forward:

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What would make you feel safe to go back to the office once lockdown lifts? Tell us in this super-speedy survey.

Start your search

If you know what you want and need, but are only blocked by the fact that you can’t view office space in person, there are still things you can do to get ahead:

Make your shortlist

As our platform is digital, you can browse serviced, managed, and leased offices (with updated availability, high-quality photos, and extensive listing information) via HubbleHQ, even during lockdown. You can also request floorplans for 12+ person offices, and a wide selection of our operators offer 360° tours which you can explore at your leisure.

As such, you can make significant progress on deciding which spaces you’re interested in, and start making your digital shortlist of favourites via your HubbleHQ account. 

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Ask the questions you need to ask

Inevitably, you will have questions about your prospective new offices. Asking them in advance can whittle down your shortlist to ensure that when you’re ready to view, you don’t waste any time on spaces not suited to you. You can use the Ask a Question feature (see above) on our listing pages to contact office providers directly and resolve any queries.

Do a virtual viewing

You can also book virtual viewings with office providers. This comprises a video call with the office provider, in which they can share videos and 360° tours of the workspace, plus answer any questions you may have. 

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Take action: 

If you’re ready to secure your new office space now, you can still retain flexibility with many of London’s providers.

Sign now, move in when it suits you

Workspace operators understand that it’s not realistic to expect businesses to be able to move in immediately, and are happy to accommodate teams who want to secure their office now but only move in (and start paying) when restrictions are eased.

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A significant number of London’s workspace operators are also offering highly-competitive deals right now. Book a call with our team to find out more.

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Start the subletting process

Subletting has been a recognised strategy for businesses looking to generate extra income via their workspace for some time—and we expect the effects of the COVID-19 situation to make it even more common.

If you have any excess workspace and more than six months left on your lease, you could sublet it to a smaller company and unlock a new revenue stream post-lockdown. 

The process can take some time, so starting it now means you’ll be ready for when the time is right. We’ll even help you find tenants, for free, via our platform and marketing.

Find out more about the process of subletting your office in this comprehensive guide, and use our handy office sublet calculator to estimate how much your spare desks are worth. 

Unsure about how to approach your office space strategy at this time? Here’s how HubbleHQ can help.

 

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