Will remote working demand fade away?
Remote working has been an integral part of everyday life for the past year, and it has influenced many decisions in the property and rental market.
Buyers and tenants have looked for homes with an office space, or at least flexibility to have a safe and welcoming work environment.
You also have the many people who have embraced remote working and moved away from their office. These people will hope remote working remains a permanent element of life, or they might need to reverse the decision they have taken in the past year.
You can see why many vendors and landlords will look to capitalise on remote working. By offering property with designated workspace, it fits with the needs of the modern day.
Do people want to return to the office?
However, is remote working here to stay? One property specialist in the capital is suggesting people feel bored with remote working, and that they are keen to return to the “comfort” of working in an office and socialising in city or town centres.
Howard Dawber, is the head of strategy at Canary Wharf Group, and it would be fair to say he as a vested interest in people returning to offices rather than working from home.
The Canary Wharf Group has an office complex that currently has around 6,000 people working on site. Before the pandemic, there were 110,000 people working on the site.
This is a monumental drop-off, and it might be that these thoughts are purely based on Howard’s business hopes, as opposed to what people genuinely want.
Have people forgotten about the commute?
Howard said; “We've got to the point where there is a lot of fatigue out there. Working from home for the first couple of months of last year when the sun was shining and people were enjoying perhaps a more flexible environment, there was a sense that this was going to be a short-term process” he has told the BBC. I think now people are really missing that opportunity to collaborate with and just see their friends in the office, to get your hair cut, to go and get a good coffee at lunchtime and to do all the life admin things you can do in a city centre.”
Dawber continues that while he recognises some may want to continue working from home at least part-time, he adds: “From March 29 onwards I think we will see people starting to return to the workplace and particularly as we get towards June when things like bars, restaurants, services, hairdressers open up I think we will start to see people back in offices and we are expecting significant numbers back over the summer.”
You can see that socialising around the office will entice many people back, but the thought of returning to the daily commute will not be welcome for many people.
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