The volatility of the office and real estate market to financial ad economic turmoil is well known. Perceptions of investment risk as well as property asset prices mean that decisions about office space focus on the medium to long term. The recent shift to more agile, homeworking has added further uncertainty, resulting in a new wave of office vacancies as 'downsizing' and new collaborative workspaces are created. Positive opportunities to reconsider and repurpose office real estate towards more energy efficient and lower carbon footprints exist to counterbalance negative economic impacts. But to make this sustainable, new business models around yield and pricing may be necessary to ensure a sustainable future for this element of the city centre.
New work patterns
Globally, patterns of work and commuting have, and will remain, changed by the experiences of the last few years. Some city centres have shown themselves to be more resilient than others and some have been more imaginative in accepting that policies and actions based on a return to pre-pandemic patterns of work and travel are a missed opportunity to adapt and embrace greener, more local responses.
Changing the office space
Workspaces which reinforce collaboration and team-working alongside social relationships whilst managing 'transient' employees present only a few days a week are becoming the norm. As an extension of the digital economy, assumptions about the form, function, shape and location of the office have been disrupted. New opportunities to make the workspace more eco- and social friendly are being created.
Improving energy efficiency
A key response to the changing nature of the work space is the need to refocus on the energy needs and consumptions. From 'always on' IT facilities to 'office kitchens' new patterns of energy use offer opportunities to be more efficient. And new opportunities exist in the reshaping internally to improve the building fabric, reducing its carbon footprint.
Find out more about research into the impact of change on retailing and consumption in the city centre and its role in the regeneration and revitalization of the area. Click on titles for access.
Local Government Association, 2022 (online report)
Patterns of work and commuting have, and will remain, changed – with implications for the future of high streets. This report from the UK-based LGA offers insights into how high streets and city centres can respond effectively to the shifting patterns of work and other changes brought about by the pandemic.