Published Saturday, May 19th, 2012, by Jo Disney - News and Features Editor, U.K.
With the Royal celebrations for the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympic Games fast approaching, the UK is stealing plenty of limelight this year. But it has also slipped into a double-dip recession, and constant troubles in the Eurozone means that economic stability in the UK seems to be hanging in the balance.
How is this affecting the business centre industry?
The answer, it seems, is both good and bad. On the one hand, according to stats from serviced office brokerage company officebroker.com, the UK’s overall business centre performance in the opening three months of 2012 was far from positive. In Q1 2012, UK enquiry levels through officebroker.com decreased by 15% when compared to the same period in 2011, and the number of new businesses entering serviced space decreased by 9%.
The average number of workstations per business remained unchanged at 4.4 workstations, and the length of licence also stayed static at 8 months.
And yet it’s not all doom and gloom. Despite the reduction in enquiries and new signings, the average price of a workstation across the UK increased, rising to £295 from the previous year’s average of £283.
Additional stats revealed by officebroker.com show that during the opening months of 2012, prices in the West End of London rocketed to £717 per workstation – a 29% rise compared to the same period in 2011. And in the first quarter of 2012, Central London as a whole saw the average price of a workstation increase from £502 to £583 – suggesting that clients are both able and willing to pay the price to secure short-term flexible space.
Furthermore, although the outlook for the economy might be grey, companies riding out the storm will look to consolidate their overheads and potentially seek to derive more flexibility from their workspace, which could naturally boost the serviced office industry.
In a recent interview with Officing Today, Zach Douglas – Managing Director of UK serviced office company Orega – believes that the serviced office industry is continuing to hold its own. He claims that flexible workspace has become an “increasingly relevant and important part of the property market,” and that the industry “is becoming a part of all forward-thinking organisations’ property strategies.” This is good news for serviced offices.
And how can business centres ensure they are fully benefiting? To keep doing what they do best: stay flexible, offer tailored solutions, a great service and quality space. This is what companies need from the industry – especially during troubled times – and serviced offices are perfectly placed to offer the right solution.