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As 2021 gets into its stride, we’re still deep in the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s hard to predict exactly what the long-term effects on society will be. One thing is certain, though: the way we work and where we work is changing.

So what does that mean for businesses? Should they abandon their city-centre offices entirely as whole corporate teams move to work-from-home models? Should they get a main contractor in for a refurbishment in anticipation of things going back to normal? Or do construction companies need to anticipate businesses moving to a more distributed model as they plan to fit out satellite offices nearer to their employees’ homes?

Right now, nobody is certain. But the answer is most likely all three. Here’s why:

Why keep your city centre office?

Big cities will remain as transport hubs – trains, plans and road networks all converge in major urban centres. So when people want to do business face to face, they will want a place to do it. In short, an office.

What’s more, big workforces often need big get-togethers. Strategy days, conferences, team-building workshops. And that requires central office space. Firms may well want to sub-let parts of their big central offices, and it’s likely that they’ll want to reconfigure them – so fit out companies in London, in particular, should be prepared for that opportunity – but city centre offices aren’t going to go the way of the dodo just yet.

Why a satellite office could be just the ticket

Working from home is great for some, but the pressures of space and the distractions of family members can prove a challenge to productivity. Yet one thing the 2020 shift to working from home has clearly shown is that employees don’t like a long commute – so a satellite office can be the best of both worlds. A dedicated workplace that allows employees to focus, but one that’s not too far from home.

On top of this, the pressure on the nation’s high street retailers from online shopping means that high streets in large suburbs and commuter towns suddenly have large spaces they can no longer fill with retail tenants. Combine that commercial space with the potential growth in demand for satellite offices and there’s a big opportunity there.

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