COVID-19 causes high demand for short-term workspace, forces firms to delay relocation plans: Colliers

Nehal Samir
3 Min Read

Regus, one of the largest workspace solutions providers worldwide, said small working teams increasingly want to lease workspaces for short term periods, according to a recent report by global commercial real estate services organization, Colliers.

The trend follows in the footsteps of the UAE’s advice on working restrictions due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Colliers said that people frequently do not have the resources to support working from home on a long-term basis. The company added that some teams, who have leased spaces, said that this is their alternative to working from home, and is a preferred choice due to the support options they offer.

As the world remains alert to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, Colliers studied the impacts the virus has had on the flexible workspace sector, operators, and clients.

Due to the ever-growing risk of contracting the virus, Regus said it had witnessed companies splitting teams amongst multiple centres to avoid daily interaction.

Another leading workspace operator, Servcorp, told Colliers that they have seen many companies deciding to postpone their 2020 plans. These companies are, instead, electing to stay at their existing locations with the possibility of holding off any decisions for the remainder of the year.

Colliers added that it had recently been approached by prospective tenants looking for opportunities in the market where landlords can offer turn-key solutions. This means fully fitted and furnished offices with good connectivity and flexible terms. Whilst it is far from ideal for landlords to have a high tenant turnover, these short-term tenants pay premium rents in comparison to the rest of the market, and are looking for any terms between one and six months.

Colliers said that as the UAE has now enforced remote working for 80% of company employees, businesses all over Dubai have started implementing their Business Continuity Plans (BCP).

“The need to have an action plan for remote working has become even more critical. Many businesses have been unprepared with little or deficient contingency plans in place and faced with staff working from home without the proper tools and adequate connectivity,” it mentioned.

“Businesses also need to evaluate their liabilities to protect themselves from overspending. However, not all adjustments are completely financially related,” Colliers added.

To ensure minimised disruption levels and sustained productivity, colliers said that businesses need to have back-up options around flexible working. This then influences how teams are managed and the costs involved.

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