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One year on from the start of the global pandemic, many office workers have demonstrated that your office is where you are, and not the other way around.
An agile work culture which might otherwise have taken five years to integrate, is already here, like a visitor from abroad whose flight landed early - a few days early. Businesses are being forced to figure out how agile working will impact their profitability and purpose, or else risk being left behind.
The idea that an office worker must be in a physical office for five working days has been debunked, and many companies have already announced plans to reduce office space in parallel with their ambitious growth plans.
The spread of the work force between the home-office and the corporate-office leads to reduced population density in what used to be busy networking hubs. This, in hand, challenges the business model of the high street operator who is forced to assess whether there is enough demand to survive, or better yet, new demand within which to grow.
Landlords are looking at their spaces and deciding whether they can afford to reduce rents (if it comes to that) or if they are better off adapting or repurposing their spaces to cater for a more profitable or popular need.
Meanwhile, in the residential market, people who live in town are wondering whether their money is better spent further afield, because a longer commute is more tolerable if it means having the luxury of a separate home-office and garden that they couldn't otherwise afford. A buyer or developer of a residential investment property must now look at it with fresh eyes and decide, given a choice, would a new tenant want to live-work here, and what more can we do here to enhance their new live-work experience?
Funders and valuers will be watching the new market dynamics closely in order to decide how much of it is real and sustainable, and how much is just hype. They will decide how this impacts values, lending limits and lending appetite and they therefore have their own influence on investor decisions.
Agility brings many variables into play in the real estate market, and it's clear that for all its challenges, agility is an opportunity for growth.