In the news today, we are hearing that big City firms are looking to reduce their office space. So, this gets me to thinking, what effect does this have on the economy, will it have a negative impact on growth, or will it just cause a shift in where money is spent?
It is believed that a lot of firms are looking to reduce their office space permanently, while a vast amount of their staff will remain working remotely on a permanent basis. Will this cause City Centres to become “ghost towns”? If the office staff aren’t entering the city, what will happen to those small businesses providing lunch and refreshments to these people. What will happen to the “hustle and bustle”? Where will the attraction for others be? What impact will this have on public transport? It is sure to have a positive impact on our carbon footprint as less people need to travel from A to B if they are working at home. So, there’s a couple of negatives, but one massive positive for the environment.
BUT, how much money will be removed from the city areas in rent and rates? Will councils suffer and therefore reduce their own spending if they have heavily office populated areas. Will firms just shift their spending, or will they make massive cuts because of their reduced office space expenses? Huge cuts will lead to a further downturn in the economy – won’t it? If they shift their spending or alter their spending trends, will that have a positive impact on the consumer, or staff? Would staff see this cost saving past to them in increased salaries, higher or more bonuses or better pensions etc?
Who will be immediately impacted by this change in office space? I imagine that companies serving to furnish home working areas will continue to see the up-shift in demand for office furniture etc. that they have already experienced (did anyone try to buy an office desk or chair at the height of the Pandemic?!); Virtual Assistants like me will see an increase in the use of our services (remote working would appear to be becoming the norm and not just a temporary fix for Covid-19); communications providers will continue to see an increase in demand for online meeting platforms and great remote telephone systems (I’m sure people have seen the clever marketing of “HiHi” on tv and in print).
With all of that said then the City skyline looks to be changing and that is going to have an impact on all of us. In the end, I hope we will see an increase in employee satisfaction and loyalty to firms, which in turn will feed through the businesses and ultimately right down to the consumer. A good thing in the end, but at the expense of the City skyline that we know and enjoy now and I think it will take quite some time for everything to calm down and for the economy to be able to breathe and grow. In the meantime we will have to sit back and watch this space and support those we can, who are having to make these massive corporate business ans smaller business decisions.