Bureau has been appointed by abrdn to launch three new floors of creative workspace on the doorstep of Spitalfields market.


Bureau has been appointed by abrdn to launch three new floors of creative workspace on the doorstep of Spitalfields market.


80 Middlesex Street has all the characteristics that make converted Victorian warehouse offices so popular: 


Exposed steels and brickwork, providing each floor with unique character and charm
Floorplates flooded with natural light via critall windows on three elevations
Huge ceiling heights


Each level provides 2,700 sq ft, with 20-30 workstations per floor and a variety of layouts / configurations with meeting rooms, kitchens and collaborative / breakout space.


To find out more or arrange a viewing, get in contact with the Bureau team or our joint agents Jack Beeby or Daisy Walder at BH2.


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Camden is famous for its eclectic mix of markets, trendy cafes and live music venues.


Camden is famous for its eclectic mix of markets, trendy cafes and live music venues.


This dynamic neighbourhood also provides some fantastic flexible workspace opportunities.


We had the pleasure of viewing this 3,650 sq ft self-contained office on Oval Road.


It’s the perfect space to enjoy the vibrant energy of this cultural hotspot while working in a professional and productive environment.


This workspace is available from 12 months upwards and provides:


Up to 64 desks
Two meeting rooms
Breakout / collaboration areas
Bike storage and shower facilities
Manned reception
Pre-installed 100mb fibre line


For more information, please get in touch with Ed at Bureau

0203 687 0350


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The tallest building in London for 250 years….


The tallest building in London for 250 years….

Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece held onto its crown as London’s tallest building until 1965, when it was overtaken by the BT Tower. Hard to believe when taking in today’s skyline.

Whilst there are now more than 100 buildings in central London that dwarf St Paul’s Cathedral, sightlines of the dome have been protected from as far as Richmond park.

In our opinion, there is no better aspect of London’s most iconic landmark, than from the churchyard itself.

Bureau recently advised on the letting of the 1st floor (2,500 sq ft) at 4 St Paul’s Churchyard to TPT Retirement Solutions advised by CBRE.

The building overlooks the entrance to the cathedral and provides contemporary workspace with a truly unique outlook.

There’s now only one floor remaining in this charming boutique office building, which has been refurbished by ECHOSPACE with collaborative working in-mind.

The 3rd floor (2,517 sq ft) provides 24 workstations, two meeting rooms, phone booths and carefully considered breakout space to enjoy the panoramic views.

To found out more about this opportunity, get in contact with the Bureau team or our joint agents Knight Frank.


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4 Bloomsbury Place


🏢 Looking for the perfect workspace in the heart of Bloomsbury? We’ve recently been instructed to market these beautiful townhouse offices at 4 Bloomsbury Place! 🎉


✨ Set in a bustling neighbourhood, surrounded by beautiful architecture, trendy cafes, and a thriving business community✨


💼 Whether you're a startup, a freelancer, or an established business, these offices cater to all needs. From private meeting rooms for brainstorming sessions to cosy breakout areas for those much-needed coffee breaks. 📈


📞 Give us a call at 07811111600 or email catherine@bureauoffice.co.uk to schedule a viewing and secure your dream office space at 4 Bloomsbury Place. Trust us, you won't want to miss out on this one! 💼✨


#OfficeSpace #BloomsburyPlace #BureauOffice #FlexibleOffices




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Central London’s tallest mass timber office building opens


The Black & White Building is the first project that flexible workspace provider TOG, part of The Office Group, has built from the ground up.


Standing at 17.8m, spanning more than 38,000 sq ft and comprising 28 offices, more than 500 desks, a dedicated yoga studio and event spaces, the building is the tallest mass timber office in central London.


The Office Group president Charlie Green said he hopes that building encourages others to take an innovative, environmental approach to construction.


Working with Waugh Thistleton Architects, TOG expanded and rebuilt the original site that it bought in 2013, incorporating cross-laminated timber and laminated veneer lumber.


Timber was used in “everything above ground”, including the columns, beams, walls and floor slabs.


The workspace operator said these materials are rapidly renewable, highly durable, easily recyclable and less waste-generated than materials like iron, steel and cement.


Targeting a BREEAM Excellent rating and LETI B rating, the Black & White Building reduced embodied emissions by 37% compared with a concrete structure of the same size.


Daytrip Studio was tasked with designing the space with social connectivity, environmentally conscious materials and sustainability principles at its heart. The interior design used recycled materials, with 88% of furniture sourced in the UK.


Features include 94 bike storage spaces, a roof terrace and a ground floor lounge. Users also have access to a dedicated yoga and barre studio.


Enrico Sanna, CEO of The Office Group, said: “Partnering with Waugh Thistleton Architects has brought our aligned sustainability vision to life by developing a building that offers long-term, innovative and sustainable solutions that we see as the blueprint for our future workspaces and hope it encourages others to rethink their construction methods.”


The Black & White Building is the fourteenth of The Office Group’s buildings in the City and Shoreditch area in London. Fora, which merged with TOG last year, also has two offices nearby – Great Eastern Street and Montacute Yards.


Charlie Green, president of The Office Group, said: “Rebuilding The Black & White Building has been our opportunity to show our very real commitment to driving positive change in the industry. It’s about building as responsibly as possible, taking risks and learning as much as we can along the way.


“It’s innovative, but we very much hope that this building encourages others to develop commercial buildings with the environment at the core of their approach to construction.”


Play Tech - https://placetech.net/news/central-londons-tallest-mass-timber-office-building-opens/

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London flexible office occupancy rates recover to pre-pandemic levels


Flexible office spaces in central London have seen their occupancy rates recover to pre-pandemic levels, new data shows.


A majority (86 per cent) of the world’s top 30 flexible workspace providers have seen now seen occupancy rates in their central London offices surpass levels of 60 per cent, a survey by Knight Frank shows.


A further 88 per cent of the top 30 flexible office companies – including WeWork, The Office Group, and IWG – said they are now planning to expand their office footprint, by adding new sites.


More than a third (35 per cent) of those surveyed said financial services companies had driven demand in central London, while 25 per cent said demand was being by tech companies.    


“Flexible offices have witnessed a post-pandemic surge from the sectors that have traditionally driven office demand in [the City and West End] submarkets,” Knight Frank exec Amanda Lim said.


“Companies of all sizes, from start-ups to larger established businesses, increasingly value the option to move straight into a workspace and easily upsize depending on headcount trends and how much their employees use the office,” Lim said.


One major deal this year saw tech recruitment company Levin let the entire 23,000 sq ft of space in British Land’s 155 Bishopsgate tower.


The research comes on the back of prior research by Knight Frank showing almost half (47 per cent) of UK businesses plan to include more flexible office spaces into their property portfolios.


City A.M. (Louis Goss) - https://www.cityam.com/flexible-office-companies-see-london-occupancy-rates-recover-to-pre-pandemic-levels/

Photo by Jaanus Jagomägi on Unsplash

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Demand for central London office space surged 24% in 2022


Demand for central London office space surged by a quarter this year year despite the continuing popularity of hybrid working, new figures reveal today.


Data from property consultants Knight Frank show take up of office space rose by 24% compared with 2021. However, lettings of 10.9 million sq ft were still below the pre-pandemic average of 12.3 million.


New energy efficient space was the most sought after with demand up 27%.


Knight Frank predicts that the strong trend will continue into next year as there are currently deals under offer for a further 2.8m sq ft of space.


On top of that it is estimated that occupiers coming to the end odf their leases or needing more or better quality space will fuel demand for 8.5m sq ft more space next year.


Financial services firms drove the market, accounting for a quarter of all take up. Companies in the sector committed to 2.8 million sq ft of new office space this year, compared with 1.8m sq ft in 2021 and 1m sq ft in 2020.


Stand out deals last year include US financial services giant Capital Group agreeing to lease 225,000 sq ft over nine floors at the newly developed Paddington Square as its new London headquarters.


In the City, UK asset manager Aviva investors also confirmed it will move to a new 80,000 sq ft workspace spread across four floors at EightyFen, a new development named after its location at 80 Fenchurch Street in the City of London.


Financial services companies have also led take-up in the West End accounting for 35% of transactions, or 1.5 million sq ft of office space.


Investment bank Lazard announced plans to relocate its UK headquarters to 20 Manchester Square in Marylebone, where the firm will occupy 78,500 sq ft of refurbished office space and Blackstone committed to an off-plan pre-let of a 230,000 sq ft redevelopment of Lansdowne House, Berkeley Square.


The year also saw all-time high take up amongst the legal sector with 1.4 million sq ft space let, surpassing the 1.1 million sq ft total in 2021. This was driven by large corporate headquarter deals, including Clifford Chance’s 321,100 sq ft pre-let at Great Portland Estate’s 2 Aldermanbury Square development and Kirkland & Ellis committing to a new 215,000 sq ft office at 40 Leadenhall.


Philip Hobley, head of London Offices at Knight Frank, said: “Companies are having to navigate two new challenges; evolving a new strategy of flexible working patterns that support the wellbeing and productivity of their workforce and client service; whilst looking to engage and address ESG targets, both from a commitment and cultural vision perspective. This has pivoted the focus to new, higher quality buildings capable of delivering more dynamic workspaces ahead of leases expiring, in response to a constrained development pipeline.


“We estimate a shortfall of around 10 million sq ft between now and 2026, based on a visible pipeline of 15.9 million sq ft, of which 3.5 million sq ft has been pre-let, set against long term levels of take up of new and refurbished Grade A space standing at 5.6 million sq ft per annum.”


Shabab Qadar, London Research Partner at Knight Frank, said: “Despite a series of economic shockwaves, the London office market continued to demonstrate robust letting volumes in 2022, fuelled by the drive to occupy better quality buildings that can deliver enhanced workplace experiences.


“This is a trend that has intensified over the past couple of years, with factors such as sustainability credentials and wellbeing amenities becoming more central to office strategies. The 6.5 million sq ft of newly developed and refurbished lettings this year is the highest since 2019 and driven by a record level of take up of refurbished buildings of 3.7m sq ft that exhibit many best-in-class qualities.”


Office investment transactions totalled £13.2 billion, 7 percent higher than 2021. Activity was led by investors from the Asia Pacific region (36 percent), North America (19 percent), the UK (17 percent) and Europe (17 percent) targeting income security from long leases in buildings with blue-chip tenants to hedge against higher levels of future inflation.


The largest deal of the year was CK Asset Holding’s £1.2 billion acquisition of 5 Broadgate near Liverpool Street, which is let to UBS. Others included Landsec’s £809 million acquisition of 21 Moorfields, above Moorgate underground station, which is fully pre-let to Deutsche Bank. The year also saw Singapore’s Ho Bee Land buy The Scalpel for £718 million and Google acquire its London headquarters in Central Saint Giles for £775 million.


Evening Standard (Jonathan Prynn) - https://www.standard.co.uk/business/central-london-office-space-west-end-city-knight-frank-b1049098.html

Photo by Call Me Fred on Unsplash

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Flexible office space provider secures £2.5m investment to accelerate growth


Flexible office space provider, Canvas, has secured £2.5 million in debt finance from leading alternative finance provider, ThinCats, to accelerate growth and expand its property portfolio in strategic locations across London.


Established in 2018 by founding partners, Yaron and Oren Rosenblum, Canvas focuses on sourcing and reviving buildings to create environments where people love to work. Headquartered in Shoreditch, they source and repurpose vacant or underperforming, self-contained buildings spanning 5,000 – 25,000 SQFT.


To date, Canvas has sourced, refurbished, and launched 11 office buildings across London in prime locations, including Mayfair, Shoreditch, Farringdon, and Old Street.


The funding will be used to finance the company’s plans to launch 11 additional buildings and triple the business in size within the next 18 months.


Underpinned by a team of 20 industry experts, Canvas buildings are home to 70+ businesses, including influential brands like Rough Trade, Patchwork, Malin+Goetz, and Augustinus Bader.


Dave Sherrington, Regional Head of Sales for the South East, ThinCats: “I was impressed by Canvas’ proven ability to stabilise the business and drive scalable growth during the economically challenging COVID-19 period. While this is the first round of investment ThinCats has delivered to Canvas, we’re keen to support Yaron and Oren as they are already focused on securing equity investment to drive international growth within the next two years.”


Yaron Rosenblum, co-founder and CEO of Canvas, said : “Over the last four years, Oren and I have worked incredibly hard to cement the concept of flexible office space and to create a unique business model that truly understands what people perceive as valuable at work.


“By doing so, we have played an instrumental part in the evolution of the way in which businesses work, and are proud to have established Canvas as a leading office space provider, committed to helping our clients collaborate and grow, through spaces tailored to individual business needs.


“With a vision to accelerate growth in strategic locations across London and overseas in the coming years, we are delighted to have secured our first round of investment and now look forward to executing our plans to triple our portfolio during 2023 and beyond.”


Business Matters - https://bmmagazine.co.uk/get-funded/flexible-office-space-provider-secures-2-5m-investment-to-accelerate-growth/

Photo by Redd F on Unsplash

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Flexible workspace specialists Vallist and infinitSpace join forces for new offer


Flexible workspace creator and operator infinitSpace and adviser Vallist are collaborating on a global service enabling landlords and developers to enter the flexible workspace.


Both firms were founded by former senior executives of co-working space giant WeWork.


InfinitSpace said it “creates and manages tech-enabled, white-label flexible workspace brands on behalf of commercial landlords”. It was co-founded by Wybo Wijnbergen, former WeWork MD of North and West Europe, and his brother Wilco, a tech entrepreneur.


Singapore-based Vallist said it “helps landlords navigate the transition to flexible workspaces as well as investors looking to gain exposure in the sector”. It was founded by Lachlan Buchanan and Alex Passler, who have both held the role of head of real estate for WeWork.


Wybo Wijnbergen, CEO of infinitSpace, said: “We’re really excited to be working with Vallist – it’s a partnership that will fast-track our global expansion plans. Their team has great knowledge of the flexible-workspace sector, not to mention a worldwide network of landlords, many of whom are looking for assistance in capitalising on the flexible workspace trend.”


Passler, managing partner at Vallist, added: “We are delighted to unveil this partnership with infinitSpace – it complements our existing offering perfectly.”


Property Week - https://www.propertyweek.com/news/flexible-workspace-specialists-vallist-and-infinitspace-join-forces-for-new-offer/5121917.article

Photo by Mike Stezycki on Unsplash

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Occupiers are expanding their footprint in Central London office market


Following an unprecedented downturn in activity as a result of the pandemic, the Central London Office leasing market is now seeing occupiers expanding their footprint at record levels, according to the latest research from CBRE.


Central London office take-up reached 12.7m sq ft for the 12-months to the end of Q2 2022, an increase of 153 per cent when compared to the same period last year and five per cent above the 10-year average, says the global real estate advisor.


Furthermore, CBRE’s data shows that for the 12 months to the end of Q2 2022, 43 deals completed at 100 per cent positive net absorption, equating to 2.3m sq ft. This is the highest level recorded for any 12-month period over the last eight years, demonstrating that expansion is still a priority for occupiers despite long-term changes in working practices.


The analysis also shows that for units over 20,000 sq ft, 68 deals were lease driven in the 12-month period between Q3 2021 and Q2 2022. Of these, 39 occupiers took more space than they previously occupied, showing that more occupiers are growing than contracting.


This increase in activity has been broad-based across the Central London market however at a submarket level, the West End has seen one of the swiftest recoveries across the major European office markets. Take-up soared to 4.9m sq ft, an increase of 149 per cent when compared the same period last year and a 24 per cent increase on the 10-year average. Activity has predominantly been driven by the banking and finance sector, with a focus on core markets such as St James’s and Mayfair. Take-up for the banking and finance sector to the end of Q2 2022 reached 1.4m sq ft, the highest level for any 12-month period ever recorded by CBRE.


Commenting on the data, Simon Brown, Head of Office Research, CBRE said: “This surge in demand shows us the true depth of the Central London office market. Despite an increase in hybrid working, demand for office space remains robust. Although many occupiers are using this opportunity to rationalise their estates, over the last year more deals have involved growth than contraction. The received wisdom is that hybrid working will significantly impact office demand. This data clearly challenges that narrative.”


FJL (Sarah OBeirne) - https://www.fmj.co.uk/occupiers-are-expanding-their-footprint-in-central-london-office-market/

Photo by Giammarco on Unsplash


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London office sales surge as remote working boom ends


Employers are racing to find new offices in central London, as take-up of space rebounds to pre-pandemic levels, in the clearest sign yet that the remote working boom is running out of steam. 


New figures compiled by CBRE show that companies signed deals for 12.7 million square feet of office property in central London in the 12 months to the end of June – up 153pc on the same period last year, and 5pc above the ten-year average. 


In the West End – an area CBRE said had experienced "one of the swiftest recoveries across the major European office markets" - take-up of office properties was up 24pc on the ten-year average. Banks and finance companies are among the most active in looking for sites in the area, CBRE said, with the sector taking 1.4 million square feet out of the total 4.9 million square feet leased in the 12-month-period. CBRE said this was the highest level it had ever recorded for the industry, with finance firms particularly interested in Mayfair and St James's. 


Simon Brown, CBRE head of office research, said: “This surge in demand shows us the true depth of the central London office market. Despite an increase in hybrid working, demand for office space remains robust.


"The received wisdom is that hybrid working will significantly impact office demand. This data clearly challenges that narrative.”


It comes as more workers start to come back into offices after dragging their feet since restrictions were lifted last year. The latest Pret Index, which details transactions in Pret a Manger cafes, suggested footfall in the City of London hit 83pc of pre-pandemic levels last month. The cost of living crisis is poised to prompt a fresh uptick in staff coming into workplaces to avoid higher energy bills.


Those working from home will be spending hundreds of pounds extra on their energy bills, according to figures from Uswitch earlier this month. 


Experts and City professionals have predicted more staff will also start coming back into offices when the economy goes into reverse, as predicted to happen later this year by the Bank of England.


Anthony Painter, director of policy at the Chartered Management Institute, told the Telegraph earlier this month that "people are increasingly going to feel that their jobs may be insecure, and this will more than likely shift behaviours and lead to a return to presenteeism".


The Telegraph (Hannah Boland) - https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/08/28/london-office-sales-surge-remote-working-boom-ends/

Photo by Johen Redman on Unsplash

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‘Uncomfortable and cold’: Brits might be about to ditch home working as heating bills soar


LONDON — High heating bills and the prospect of working in a cold and uncomfortable house this winter might soon push more Brits to go back into the office.


Of the 2,000 people surveyed by price comparison site MoneySuperMarket, 14% (280) plan to spend more time working from the office to reduce home energy bills. This figure increases to almost a quarter (23%) when looking at 18-to-24 year olds.


The U.K.’s annual energy price cap is poised to increase to more than £3,500 ($4,131) this year and one fuel poverty charity is urging the government to take action “urgently” to tackle the problem.


Energy consultancy Auxilione estimates the price cap, currently at £1,971 a year, could climb to as high as £6,089 next April as Britain’s cost-of-living crisis worsens. The price cap essentially limits the amount a supplier can charge for their tariffs, but this limit has surged higher recently due to the rise in wholesale prices — meaning Brits have seen bills skyrocket.


Meanwhile, around one in seven working adults in the U.K. worked from home between April 28 and May 8, according to the Office for National Statistics. That number could change as bills surge, according to Matt Copeland, head of policy and public affairs at fuel poverty charity National Energy Action.


“The massive energy bill hikes that are coming in October and January are going to push workers to think about how they can keep costs down. It might be that they would rather use their office’s energy rather than their own,” Copeland told CNBC.


Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, can also see workers opting to go back to the office as bills skyrocket.


“There’s a point when energy bills are hike[d] so high that it would be cheaper to commute to work than heat your home during the day, and for some people it will be enough to prompt a return to work,” she said.


The cost difference between home working and going to the office is also largely dependent on the mode of transport, Coles said.


“Someone taking a commuter train into London is going to face much higher costs than someone taking the bus locally. At the same time, someone in a modern flat will have far lower heating costs than someone in a large, draughty, Victorian house,” Coles told CNBC.


Those traveling to work by train typically spend £136 a week on their commute, while car costs add up to £80 per week on average, according to Confused.com data from 2021.


Incidental spending


Spending associated with being in the office doesn’t stop at the commute either, and huge amounts of money can be saved by working from home. 


“There’s also everything from the work wardrobe to lunches, coffees and the incidental spending that comes with being out and about during the day. This all needs to be factored into your calculations,” Coles said.


Better work-life balance and productivity are two major reasons people have continued to work from home now that most offices have reopened, and those conveniences could continue to outweigh the additional cost of heating homes, Coles told CNBC.


“Those who choose to work from home will have decided that this works best for them, whether that’s because they have caring responsibilities, they work better in the home environment, or they’ve got a lockdown dog they don’t want to leave,” Coles said.


“For them, even if it becomes more expensive to stay home, the other issues may mean they choose to stay at home,” she said.


This year there has been an increase in hybrid arrangements — working from home and going into an office on a regular basis — with 24% of people doing both between April 27 and May 8, according to ONS data.


“If people are spending every day in an uncomfortable and cold house, the prospect of a warm office without the worry of extra bills could tip the balance,” Coles said.


Tough choices


Working parents’ set-up is increasingly influenced by the rising cost of living, according to Mandy Garner, managing editor at WM People, an online platform promoting best practice and diversity in the workplace.


“Our annual survey which we are just [analyzing] shows that while working from home is definitely something many still want, pay has now become the most important thing for many parents with many in debt, but there are other concerns,” Garner said.


“For instance, childcare availability is a rising issue for many and some wraparound care and particularly childcare for special needs kids is not back to normal,” she said.


Meanwhile, National Energy Action is asking the U.K. government to offer more support to people making these decisions.


“To prevent people making tough choices, the UK government urgently needs to upgrade the energy bill support package and work with the regulator to introduce a social tariff,” Copeland told CNBC.


The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy responded to CNBC’s request for comment with the following statement.


“We know the pressures people are facing with rising costs, which is why we have continually taken action to help households by phasing in £37 billion worth of support,” a spokesperson said.


“We are giving a £400 discount on energy bills this winter and eight million of the most vulnerable households will see £1,200 extra support,” they said.


“While no Government can control global gas prices, over 22 million households are protected by the price cap which continues to insulate households from even higher prices,” the statement concluded.


CNBC (Hannah Ward-Glenton) - https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/25/cost-of-living-brits-to-ditch-home-working-as-heating-bills-soar.html

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

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Second Home dodges bankruptcy and eyes US expansion with fresh funding


Shared office space firm Second Home has scooped a £7.5m funding package to dodge bankruptcy and is now eyeing up expansion in the US, City A.M. can reveal.


The London-based start-up, headed by former David Cameron aide Rohan Silva, has been searching for rescue cash from investors since April and kicked off a sale process last month as it faced a potential insolvency.


But the firm is now gearing up for growth in the US and is preparing to begin buying up property after shoring up its coffers, City A.M. has learned.


“Like many businesses, Second Home was hit hard by lockdowns,” a Second Home source told City A.M. 


“Occupancies and revenues have bounced back” however, the source said, and the firm was now getting back to “growth mode.”


The injection has come from existing Second Home investor Global Asset Capital, a California-based growth equity and real estate investment fund, which is now preparing to provide Second Home with “tens of millions” of additional funds to snap up real estate assets across the US and Europe, City A.M. understands.


Revenues and occupancy rates at the firm both doubled in 2021, the source said, and all sites are on track to be profitable in 2022, with bosses expecting the group to hit profitability in 2023.


This shift to owning real assets on-balance sheet marks a major shift in direction for the firm which has so far run its workspaces from independently owned buildings. 


Founded in 2014, the firm has tempted a host of big name backers including Tencent chair Martin Lau, investment bank Goldman Sachs and private equity titan Index Ventures, as well as the state-backed Future Fund, set up by chancellor Rishi Sunak.


Its six existing co-working sites across London, Lisbon and Los Angeles have housed firms including Netflix, HBO and tech unicorn Clubhouse.


City A.M. (Charlie Conchie) - https://www.cityam.com/exclusive-second-home-dodges-bankruptcy-and-eyes-us-expansion-with-7-5m-funding/

Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

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Canary Wharf Is Trying to Make a Comeback


Maddalena Riccardi has been the manager of ice cream parlor Badiani Gelato’s two Canary Wharf shops since February 2020. Located at the heart of East London’s business district, the chain pivoted to deliveries to make ends meet during the lockdowns. In the summer of last year, only a scant client base of city workers and tourists were getting their gelato fix at the stores.


“After the pandemic, we weren’t sure if footfall would pick up again, but we can’t believe how busy it is—we think it’s to do with the proximity to the tube station, especially with the new Elizabeth Line,” she says. Sales at Badiani’s have doubled since the start of the summer season, with office workers and residents in particular visiting its Wood Wharf site.


According to data from Transport for London (TfL), midweek passengers arriving at London’s Canary Wharf have almost doubled in the past year. On June 15, 2022, it recorded 52,178 taps out, compared to 26,004 on the same date in 2021. However, trips to the docklands financial hub are still significantly lower than prepandemic, when there were often over 80,000 taps out per day during the week. This tallies with the wider trend of low employee presence in London’s offices.


What business leaders and landlords feared has come to pass. Even as easing restrictions have enabled workers to return to the office, they haven’t come back. While CEOs at large companies like Netflix, Goldman Sachs, Tesla, and UK retail group Frasers have all announced that full-time, in-person attendance will be compulsory, most companies are still on the fence and haven’t issued clear directives on attendance for workers.


David Cocchiara, CEO of data-led workplace management platform OfficeSpace, says that its London clients, which include ecommerce platform Made, Condé Nast (WIRED’s publisher), financial research company Third Bridge, and law firm Herbert Smith Freehills, show workspaces are still only at around 20 to 35 percent capacity. “It is slowly increasing, but areas like Canary Wharf are going to have to weather this experimentation phase to settle on what spaces they need and how many people are going to be coming back. People aren’t going to want to have space for space’s sake now,” says Cocchiara.


Despite attempts to entice workers back with office plants, personalized temperature settings, and free food, longstanding business districts that rely solely on white collar workers are in a tight spot. Canary Wharf’s struggle is playing out in central business districts around the world.


In San Francisco’s downtown area, office work accounted for 72 percent of the city’s GDP before the pandemic, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. With downtown firms quick to embrace remote work, local bars, restaurants, and shops are on their knees. The area is still the priciest place to live in the US, and elevated pandemic rent hikes haven’t yet dropped. Filling the 20.4 million square feet of vacant office space available at the end of Q1 2022, according to CBRE, is going to require some serious legwork.


Meanwhile, Europe’s largest business district, La Défense in Paris, which has double the office space of Canary Wharf, is working to evolve its model. In March, its CEO Pierre-Yves Guice announced the need to reflect the paradigm shift of hybrid working, and will be adding new residential buildings, hotels, restaurants, and urban parks to the space.


Home to 150 office tenants, the Isle of Dogs and Canary Wharf is further ahead than both these other business districts in this period of experimentation, most notably in the types of tenants it accepts. Its primary developer, The Canary Wharf Group (CWG), is adding 5 million square feet of new space, which is mostly made up of more compact buildings with specialized design, targeting smaller companies and those in the tech and life sciences sectors.


CWG’s financial results from mid-2021 show that the area’s ratio of financial and nonfinancial tenants is 55:45, compared to 70:30 a decade ago, and recent acquisitions are likely to push this balance further away from big banking. CWG has partnered with the specialist developer Kadans Science Partner to build a 22-story life sciences cluster that will be the largest commercial lab in Europe.


Set to open in 2026, the project will add to the area’s existing biotech presence, which includes the UK health regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, and Genomics England, which moved its HQ to One Canada Square in the autumn. York St. John University is relocating from its central London campus to the Republic building on East India Dock on the Isle of Dogs, joining the University of the West of Scotland and Anglia Ruskin University.


This is one facet of its efforts to shake out the staid, corporate image and blend different industries in one hub. Many of the large employers Canary Wharf is known for are sticking around or joining for the first time amid a bumper year for new office leases in London. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development EBRD will swap Exchange Square in the City to Canary Wharf, and US banking giant Citi is spending £100 million to revamp the 200-meter tower it bought as its EMEA headquarters in 2019. Rather than knock it down, Citi decided to refurbish it to use 20 percent less electricity and water consumption, and to have more flexible work and collaboration spaces.


UK founded fintech company Revolut has had offices on the fourth floor of the Columbus Building in Westferry Circus since mid-2018, and has maintained this space to give employees the flexibility to work from home, the office, or both. “Staff have expressed their desire to balance the convenience of home with the camaraderie of the office, and 56 percent of our staff work from home between two and four times a week,” says Alexandra Loi, global head of HR at Revolut. She explains that the office is at a monthly occupancy of 20 percent, and for those who do come in, there are regular team events.


The CEO of Gaucho Martin Williams saw an increase in local residents and visitors at the restaurant’s Canary Wharf branch during the pandemic, which compensated for fewer workers dining out. By February, Williams noticed a marked shift when corporate employees returned for two to three days a week, and maximized their time on the island with team lunches and dinners. “Although office capacities have shrunk by half, we’re doing well,” he says. 


The company will open M Restaurant in July, a 10,000-square-foot space in the Newfoundland building with a private members club, two private dining rooms, and weekend brunch aimed at diners from London, Essex, and Kent. “The 680 apartments above M are short- and medium-term rentals and have been full for the last year, so we’ll do room service for them, and delivery for local residents, too,” he says. “It gives me confidence that you’re not solely reliant on banks and financial institutions to prop up your business—it just needs to be a more multilayered offering.”


Other restaurateurs clearly have faith in the area’s rise from the ashes. Single site, multivendor operators Market Halls opened Cargo Market Hall at the foot of the North Colonnade building. Aussie all-day dining establishment Caravan opened a Canary Wharf branch in February 2022, burger joint Patty & Bun will launch in early summer, and Dishoom lands later in the year.


“All are operators at a mature stage in their business lifespans, and unlike the chains of yesteryear, have cleverly managed to retain a sense of ‘indie,’ which suggests their arrival into a corporate zone is transformative,” says Adam Coghlan, editor of food website Eater London. He argues that Canary Wharf isn’t more viable for independent restaurants, but rather that chains are perceived to be more trendy.


According to The Canary Wharf Group’s press office, its strategy hasn’t changed since before the pandemic, although Covid-19 has reiterated its focus on sustainability, health, and well-being. Floating pontoons, ecological gardens, and watersports, envisioned through a tie-up between CWG and the Eden Project, are expected to bring more visitors to this concrete jungle. 


“The business districts that struggle the most are those dominated by one industry, or type of profession. If it’s just people in suits that use your neighborhood, you’ve got a problem,” says Simon Yewdall, strategy director at DNCO, a design and place branding agency. “For white-collar workers, the office has to compete with people’s local neighborhoods, so to stay relevant it needs to offer something they don’t. Local neighborhoods are great, but often it’s not feasible for them to support world-class restaurants or cultural institutions.”


To solve this issue, the DNCO recommends incentives to tempt people back, such as free travel on public transport, discounts at local shops or restaurants, and events. “It also includes considering how you can re-enliven empty shops with arts and culture. Otherwise, it becomes a spiral: Office workers move out, so local businesses shut down, which makes it a less attractive place to be,” says Yewdall.


Introducing flexible workspaces and coworking isn’t just a short-term fix to the big, empty office problem. It also really helps to enliven commercial districts, says Jonny Rosenblatt, cofounder of coworking company Spacemade. “If you do it successfully, you’re guaranteed to have a critical mass of workers. People very rarely pay for a coworking space if they’re not going to show up, unlike with a traditional office where individual employees don’t think about the cost of the lease."


Canary Wharf leaned into this emerging trend in February when it launched MadeFor, a flexible office service at 40 Bank Street with leasing models similar to WeWork and Spacemade. The spaces, which are fully managed and cleaned by CWG, can be pivoted to include breakout areas, collaboration space, and any feature the tenant might request (beer taps included). Its first tenant, Citigroup, is taking 95,000 square feet of space as it waits for the refurbishment of its permanent office. “It’s not just about getting people back into offices: it’s about getting the right people into the right kinds of offices to help bring these areas to life,” says Rosenblatt.


Just as much as workers want to mix up where they work, cultural variety in their places of work is the key to resilience and reinvigoration of business districts—and Canary Wharf may have had an advantage prepandemic, perhaps because locations outside “pure” business districts offer greater ability to move with the times. At Bankside Yards, for example, a £2.5 billion scheme being built on the South Bank, the developer Native Land is taking a “hypermixed” approach by featuring offices, homes, restaurants, cafés, cultural space, and a hotel.


“Businesses moving into the offices will already have a vibrant community right on their doorstep,” says Nicholas Gray, Native Land’s sales and marketing director. “This is becoming increasingly important with the rise of hybrid working, and attitudes which prioritize work-life balance. If people are going to come into offices, they want to be part of a stimulating and exciting environment—not a monocultural business district.”


Wired (Megan Carnegie) - https://www.wired.co.uk/article/canary-wharf-is-trying-to-make-a-comeback

Photo by Alex Tai on Unsplash

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TOG at Borough Yards: trainspotting, bricks, and flexible working


London’s Borough Yards area recently got an extensive makeover by SPPARC, and within it, a wealth of retail, hospitality and public spaces were revealed to the public in late 2021. Among them was the promise of a new flexible workspace by field specialist The Office Group (TOG). Fast forward a few months and TOG at Borough Yards has just opened, set among popular south-bank tourist haunts and local landmarks, such as Southwark Cathedral and the Shard.


The new workspace offering from TOG, designed by Copenhagen-based firm Studio David Thulstrup, weaves together old and new, spanning two buildings – a former warehouse and a new teardrop-shaped structure. The two are conceived to work together seamlessly as a coherent whole, placed right next to the railway lines, offering not only majestic views of the London skyline, but also fascinating vistas of the trains going in and out of nearby London Bridge station.


In this dynamic context of present and past, brick textures, urban infrastructure and contemporary leisure, the architecture team led by David Thulstrup drew on the area’s industrial tones to compose a space that mixes the shell’s textured glass, glass bricks and floor-to-ceiling Crittall windows, with interiors using brushed metal surfaces, tactile fabrics, abundant wooden accents, and natural earth tones. 


‘I really enjoy when I get to connect myself to somewhere that has a sense of a place, and that has a history that I can tap into, and then extract those essences into the project. To me, the brand DNA of TOG is that they allow architects to incorporate their own design philosophy into a project. I think that’s what I’ve succeeded with here,’ says Thulstrup. 


‘I like the idea of working with custom-made objects, my own productions, others’ designs, even sometimes vintage pieces – melting these different levels together creates a really beautiful atmosphere. I want to make sure that when people come back to this place after five years, they still feel it is relevant. It’s about creating an inviting, inclusive, quality-driven atmosphere, and also a place where people want to stay.’


The studio brings its Scandinavian influences into central London, with furniture including chairs, sofas and lamps designed by David Thulstrup, and soft furnishings featuring Raf Simons for Kvadrat textiles. A colour palette of brown, amber and black tones wraps all areas – from compact booths to co-working stations, private offices and meeting rooms. Meanwhile, outdoor terraces, a variety of communal spaces, and a dedicated Peloton studio contribute towards users’ wellbeing – something TOG is committed to supporting – making TOG at Borough Yards a very enticing workspace proposition. 


Wallpaper ( Ellie Stathaki) - https://www.wallpaper.com/architecture/tog-at-borough-yards-studio-david-thulstrup-london-uk


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Flexible office firm Workspace has dip in enquiries but increase in rent roll


Flexible office firm Workspace suffered a dip in enquiries and a big increase in rent as many return to permanent desk jobs.


The company’s average enquiries, viewings and lettings were all down in the first quarter of 2022/3 compared to the same period last year, when some pandemic restrictions were still in place. 


It reported that the impact of bank holiday, the platinum jubilee and various strikes also impacted the level of demand, but overall leasing activity remained strong with 325 lettings in Q1.


Total rent roll increased by £24.3m to £135.3m in the quarter, while occupancy in recently completed project in Stratford, Hackney and Ladbroke Grove  all significantly up. It also reported a £5m reduction in its debt following a major acquisition.


Chief Executive Officer of Workspace Group, Graham Clemett, said it had a good start to the year, with customer demand.. driving further like-for-like pricing growth and high occupancy levels.”


“We continue to closely monitor the wider economic situation but are not currently seeing any meaningful impact on customer demand. As we have consistently demonstrated in the past, in these more challenging business environments our active operational capabilities combined with the attractions of our flexible offer and broad range of properties resonate strongly with our diverse customer base of agile, innovative SMEs.”


City A.M. (Jack Mendel) - https://www.cityam.com/flexible-office-firm-workspace-has-dip-in-enquiries-but-increase-in-rent-roll/

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Axa’s green tower offers £1bn boost to City


The City of London is set to get a new £1 billion skyscraper in what is being seen as a post-Brexit, post-pandemic vote of confidence in the capital’s office market.


The investment division of Axa, the French insurer, has bought a 250-year lease for 50 Fenchurch Street from The Clothworkers’ Company, one of the Great Twelve Livery Companies of the City founded in 1528.


On the 1.2-acre plot, a stone’s throw from Fenchurch Street railway station, Axa IM Alts intends to build a 36-storey building, which will have grasses and plants running down one side of it. Planning consent has been secured.


Work on the 150m high building is due to start in 2024 and will last until 2028. It is estimated that it will cost more than £1 billion to construct and will offer 650,000 sq ft of office space and some retail and dining units at ground level.


Demand for modern, environmentally friendly office space has surged in recent years, and Axa IM Alts is aiming for the top office sustainability ranking available. It also expects the building to be net zero in operation.


Isabelle Scemama, global head of Axa IM Alts, said that she expected this “flight to quality to become even more acute over the coming years . . . 50 Fenchurch presents us with another rare opportunity to secure a prime development site in the City of London, which we continue to believe is one of the most desirable office locations in the world.”


Since Axa IM Alts opened its skyscraper at 22 Bishopsgate in the City only 18 months ago, more than a million sq ft of office space has been let.


The Times (Tom Howard) - https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/b085693e-0399-11ed-aa15-45d37b45dc0d?shareToken=13f3ad7c98132976f247c26311e80fb4

Photo by Ed Robertson on Unsplash

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Leadership reshuffle at Office Space in Town


London office provider Office Space in Town (OSiT) is having a leadership reshuffle that sees Giles Fuchs become Chairman, being succeeded as CEO by his sister and co-founder Niki Fuchs.


Current Developments Director Simon Eastlake replaces Niki as Managing Director, while Divisional Director Georgia Sandom, recently appointed ESG lead, becomes Operations Director.


Sibling duo Giles and Niki hand over the positions they have held since founding OSiT together in 2009, with the aim of preparing other key company personnel for future leadership roles and rewarding their commitment over many years.


After over two decades leading the business, stepping into the role of Chairman will provide serial entrepreneur Giles with the resource to focus on his other ventures, Gunner’s Cocktails and Burgh Island Hotel.


OSiT’s Board of Directors says it is confident that the promotion of Eastlake and Sandom to the positions of Managing Director and Operations Director respectively will enhance the ability of the business to undergo its next phase of growth, with Giles and Niki continuing to provide the vision and leadership that has been instrumental in OSiT’s success over more than a decade.


Giles Fuchs, Chairman of Office Space in Town, said: “It is a pleasure to reward two colleagues who have supported us for so long, as Niki and I take in our new and exciting positions in the business. I am looking forward to focusing on my other ventures with Burgh Island Hotel and Gunner’s Cocktails– making me well equipped to toast both Simon and Georgia’s future success!”


Niki Fuchs, CEO of Office Space in Town, said: “OSiT has always been a family business from its foundation to its values, and both Simon and Georgia have been key members of the OSiT family for at least a decade now. With my new brief to lead the business to a £1bn valuation by the end of the decade, I can think of nobody whose support I can rely on more confidently in the next stage of our growth.”


Business Leader (Oli Ballard) - https://www.businessleader.co.uk/leadership-reshuffle-at-office-space-in-town/

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Escape rooms and yoga bring workers back to the office


Until a few weeks ago, the 38th floor of the Cheesegrater was just another unremarkable office, albeit in one of London’s most famous skyscrapers.


With the floor now unoccupied — Banco Sabadell, the TSB owner, moved out this year — CC Land, the Hong Kong investor that owns the Cheesegrater, has taken the unusual decision to turn it into an “escape room”.


Such rooms require players to solve a series of puzzles against the clock in order to “escape”. The game is open to the building’s tenants, which include Aon, the insurer, and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, the architect that designed the tower. A leaderboard allows companies to keep tabs on how they are doing. The room has been fully booked for the summer months.


It may only be open for a few months while CC Land waits for a new tenant to move in, but the move is the latest sign of the changing purpose of office blocks up and down the country as the rise of flexible working sees tenants demand more from their landlords than simply rows of desks.


CC Land said the introduction of the escape room stemmed from its desire to make its offices spaces “for people to collaborate, learn, socialise and have fun”. Adam Goldin, head of CC Land’s UK investment team, said: “It creates a buzz about the place and it gives people an incentive to come in.”


Other landlords have brought in similar initiatives. TwentyTwo, the City’s newest skyscraper, offers “serotonin-boosting” puppy yoga — a combination of traditional yoga with the endearing chaos of allowing puppies to roam around the participants.


Others send ice creams to workers on hot days or offer language lessons, bring in street food stalls and run arts and crafts classes.


Gyms, decent changing facilities, plenty of bike storage and better catering options are now the norm in newer blocks. Some are even putting in massage salons and spaces for fitness classes. One developer described it as the “hotel-ification of offices”.


James Sellar, the chief executive of Sellar Group, which will shortly finish a huge new office block next to Paddington station, calls it “office 2.0”.


“The office of the future is about better quality environments and more space which is more enjoyable, more productive, more humane, really,” he said. “It’s a more nourishing overall experience. It is no longer about quiet space with lots of desks crammed in . . . It’s a much more communal, collegiate, sharing environment.”


In the years before the pandemic, developers had been working on the basis of giving eight square metres of space to each worker in an office. The British Council for Offices’ specifications — seen as the bible of office design — now recommend that each worker gets ten.


With working from home much more commonplace, landlords are aware that businesses, and their staff, have a choice as to where they work. Being in the office every day is not the given that it once was and building owners are having to work harder to keep their occupiers happy.


Hybrid working has brought with it many benefits, not least its flexibility, but it also has its drawbacks. One of those is isolation, which is why landlords are keener than ever to promote their buildings as communities rather than just blocks of concrete and glass.


One UK landlord said it was now about “creating a kind of neighbourhood”. Phillip Shalless, a senior asset manager at Axa IM Alts, which owns TwentyTwo, thinks offices should feel like “vertical villages”.


He said: “We’ve tried to create a community and we say to our occupiers that their problem is our problem. If something’s not working, let us know and we’ll work with you to get it right.


“We want [our offices] to be places where people choose to work and not just the chief executive deciding that’s where the staff are going to work. Happy people are more productive.”


There is of course an economic reason for landlords starting to pay more attention to the demands of their tenants and how they interact with their offices. Bank of America predicted last week that there will be “extreme polarisation” between modern, sustainable offices and tired, second-rate blocks. The message was simple: offer the best buildings or see your tenants take their businesses elsewhere.


“Good buildings will let [for] more [occupancy and higher rents] than bad ones,” the analysts concluded.


Bank of America also noted that offices “are increasingly important to an occupier’s brand”. With businesses battling it out for talent amid shortages of workers, they are prepared to pay more rent for fancy buildings which they can use to try to lure new staff.


In the past, they might have just picked whichever tower was cheapest, said CC Land’s Godlin.


If businesses are to hit their sustainability targets, their real estate will have to match their ambitions, which is funnelling demand towards greener, more sustainable buildings. Office owners are trying to outdo each other when it comes to sustainability.


For example, a number are now not accepting individual deliveries directly to their buildings. Instead, tenants have their goods sent to a hub on the outskirts of the city, where all the deliveries are pooled and brought in in one trip.


Despite all the improvements under way, the future for many offices might not even be as an office at all. A recent survey carried out by CMS, the international law firm, showed that landlords expected to repurpose almost a third of all properties in the next five years.


Just shy of a quarter of the investors and owners who responded to the survey said that they were looking to convert offices into housing in an attempt to take advantage of the pandemic-induced boom in the residential property market.


It will also insulate them if working from home permanently knocks demand for office space, as Bank of America predicts.


“The survey results indicate that in five years’ time . . . a large proportion of town and city centre real estate could be very different,” Clare Thomas, a partner at CMS, said.


“Centres might be more akin to what can be found in continental Europe, where more residential is integrated with retail and offices.”


The Times (Tom Howard) - https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/85fbabdc-fafd-11ec-ab20-2fd534744dd7?shareToken=f4d9228874b5acaf674378b351b9814a

Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash

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Boost for the City as office take-up hits highest level so far this year with vacancy rates dropping and rent at new record


Office take-up in the City of London office take-up reached 714,683 sq ft in May, which is the highest monthly take-up by volume since December 2021, and the most number of deals by number (36) since March 2021, real estate giant Savills said this morning.


Take-up for the year-to-date has now reached 2.3m sq ft across 151 deals, 70 per cent up on the same point in 2021 and 5 per cent up on the 10-year average.


May’s deals follow strong activity in the spring, which has led to the supply of office space in the City to fall for the third consecutive month.


Available space is now down 2 per cent on April, to 12.7m sq ft, and the vacancy rate has decreased 20 basis points to 9.1 per cent. 


According to Savills, the average prime rent in the City has therefore now reached a new record of £84.24 per sq ft. 


Jon Gardiner, head of Savills central London agency team, said this morning that “the bar has been raised in terms of quality and specification on new City offices and, to a large extent, this has driven rental growth, however, it is also a fact that rising construction costs are and will continue to increase rents further.”


He added: “The recent opening of the Elizabeth Line has been a welcome fillip for the market and is certainly a boost in helping the ever-improving number of workers returning to the office.”


City A.M. (Michiel Willems) - https://www.cityam.com/boost-for-the-city-as-office-take-up-hits-highest-level-so-far-this-year-with-vacancy-rates-dropping-and-rent-at-new-record/

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Ministry of Sound to convert House of Fraser store into gym and offices


Ministry of Sound is to “remix” a House of Fraser store in west London as flexible offices, a gym and rooftop bar-restaurant.


The owner of the nightclub, which first launched a members’ club with flexible workspace and a gym in 2018 near its original south London venue, is expected to open its second site at Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush in 2024.


Conversion of the 115,000 sq ft department store will start at the end of summer, taking the number of House of Fraser stores closed since the group was bought by Mike Ashley’s retail empire in 2018 to more than 20.


Stores in Epsom in Surrey, Bournemouth in Dorset and Cwmbran in south Wales have all shut in recent months.


The Shepherd’s Bush project is expected to cost tens of millions of pounds with investment from Westfield and Ministry. The shopping centre operator had been looking for a partner to convert the space since 2020 when it applied for planning permission for the changes.


Lohan Presencer, the chair of Ministry of Sound Group which celebrated the 30th anniversary of its nightclub last year, said the new venue would include gyms which could host “fitness raves”, hot desks, offices and an event space for parties, product launches and conferences.


He said Ministry expected a minimum of 4,000 people a day to visit. The group’s original members’ club now has a waiting list for new sign-ups.


“We are building a genuine community and it is proving increasingly popular,” he said. “Who wants to go into a boring office? People want something that brings people together and gives them a reason to come back.”


Scott Parsons, the UK chief operating officer of Westfield’s parent group, said: “Repurposing of retail space is a good thing. With a shopping centre the size of Westfield London we will have a critical mass of leisure, retail and food and beverage and we are adding to the mix by repurposing space.”


“The 2,000 people working in the co-working space at Ministry will be adding to the footfall and sales at Westfield and those people will have hundreds of shops [and] a leisure offer right on their doorstep.”


The project emerges as shopping malls, cities and town centres search for alternative uses for hundreds of department stores which have closed in recent years.


Westfield London is in the process of finalising the conversion of an empty Debenhams store into a mix of retail, food and leisure space.


Elsewhere, department stores have been transformed into university lecture theatres, food halls, community hubs, go-karting tracks and other uses, or been downsized to take in offices or residential space.


The Guardian (Sarah Butler) - https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/jun/23/ministry-of-sound-to-convert-house-of-fraser-store-into-gym-and-offices

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Revamp considered for Lloyd’s of London building


The owner of the Lloyd’s of London building has brought in architects to come up with ideas of what to do with the London tower if the insurance market decides to leave.


Ping An, the Chinese insurer, has asked Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) to draw up new designs for the building to make sure it remains commercially viable should it lose its longstanding occupier, according to React News, the property trade website.


The Lloyd’s lease does not run out until 2031, although it has a break clause in 2026 if it wants to leave early, which it has hinted at doing. The market said in January that it was “considering a range of options around our workplace strategy”.


A decision is expected before the end of the year.


“As we adapt to new structures and flexible ways of working, we are continuing to carefully think about the future requirements for the spaces and services our marketplace needs,” a spokeswoman said.


Lloyd’s, created in London more than 330 years ago, is made up of syndicates that write insurance policies. The syndicates are among the biggest underwriters in the world of high-risk coverage, including cyberthreats and aviation. The insurance market has been based at the 298ft-high tower, which is also known as the “inside out” building because its lifts and pipework are on the outside, since it opened in 1986.


The Lloyd’s building was designed by the late architect Lord Rogers of Riverside, who went on to form RSHP. It was bought by Commerzbank for £231 million in 2005 before Ping An paid £260 million for the building eight years later.


Ping An has asked RSHP to explore a redesign of the existing layout or see if the building could be turned into a hotel or events space, according to the report, which added that designs “remain in an early stage”.


While Lloyd’s is considering its options, there is no certainty that it will decide to leave its long-term base.


Ping An and RSHP did not respond to requests for comment.


The Times (Tom Howard) - https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/3bf8cf34-f24b-11ec-b7b8-d1bfbe7f1c7e?shareToken=bdb7c2b3c3969fb0a98225bf0c2beb1e

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City law firm Slaughter and May pilots ‘bring your dog to work’ policy in wellbeing drive


Lawyers at Slaughter and May, the City law firm, will be able to bring their dogs to the office as part of a wellbeing drive if a new trial is successful.


The magic circle firm emailed staff this month to say it will trial a “bring your dog to work” policy amid a war for talent in the Square Mile.


The first pilot day will be on June 24 and, if successful, Slaughter and May will extend the scheme to take place on the last Friday of each month.


Slaughter and May’s employees were told that their dogs will not be allowed in the staff canteen, coffee breakout areas or meeting rooms during the trial.


They also must ask colleagues they share offices with whether they are happy to have pets present in order to accommodate those who are uncomfortable or unable to be around dogs.


Deborah Finkler, the new managing partner, said: “I have long been an advocate of having our dogs in the office and so am delighted that we are trialling Slaughter and May’s first ever ‘bring your dog to work’ day.


“The benefits of all animals and especially dogs to mental health, morale and alleviating stress are widely recognised, and I also hope that the trial makes for a fun and sociable day.”


The firm added: “We understand that not everyone is comfortable, or able to be around dogs and have put in place a series of guidelines around the day.”


The Times (Tracey Boles) - https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/a36ac5b6-eff1-11ec-b0c8-27c99cdfb733?shareToken=7076b1a3780851088bcc6b2086c8e559

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Flexible working is here to stay


Flexible working is not a trend and it’s not a phase – it’s here to stay. The companies that have accepted this and that have excelled at creating productive flexible work environments will reap the benefits in productivity, retention and collaboration.


Spotify, Airbnb, Atlassian and Lyft all have optional ‘work from home forever’ policies in place now. Spotify has even told employees it is happy to pay for them to work out of co-working spaces if the employees move to a new neighbourhood or miss being in the workplace and around people. People crave connection, even in the workplace, and this is so much harder to come by when working from home becomes permanent.


The importance of a separation between the home and the office, particularly for those who experienced protracted lockdowns, should not be underestimated.


This does not mean, however, that there are two clear options and ways forward – it does not boil down to a competition between going back to the office full time or working from home forever. If anything, the debate around the future of the office is old news.


Recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has illuminated how the British workforce is embracing hybrid working in the aftermath of the pandemic.


The ONS statistics revealed that the percentage of people working from home exclusively had fallen to 14% in May 2022.


In contrast to this, the proportion of those embracing hybrid working was growing, with more than eight in 10 people saying they planned to hybrid-work in 2022.


Flexible working by its nature offers spaces that promote collaboration, holistic wellness and interaction. These are all things people struggled to attain or maintain when working from home full time. At Huckletree, our central ethos is in creating ecosystems that benefit all members and are optimum spaces for personal and professional development – two things that are much harder to achieve if you are never working in the office.


In February 2022, only 8% of people said they intended to work in the office full time. Here, the numbers are reflecting the demand we are seeing for hybrid spaces and will prove that successfully catering to employees’ wants around flexibility will be a significant positive contributor to staff satisfaction, retention and wellbeing. In fact, the ONS data reported that more than three quarters of people (78%) who had embraced hybrid working in some capacity said their work-life balance had improved.


JLL has maintained that it expects to see flexible space represent 30% of the office market by 2030. We see this demand clearly reflected at Huckletree, where our spaces are at 93% occupancy. More than this, our configurations are evolving as more corporates, enterprise teams and scale-ups want flexible options that complement hybrid and innovative ways of working.


Creating an office space – with a good building, nice furniture and desks to work at – is no longer enough. People want to spend time in the office because they want to feel part of something bigger than the daily grind – the theatre of office socialising and collaboration, but above all, a community.


Gabriela Hersham is co-founder and chief executive of Huckletree

Property Week - https://www.propertyweek.com/insight/flexible-working-is-here-to-stay/5120648.article

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Customer demand drives post-lockdown rebound for office giant Workspace


Workspace Group (Workspace) has revealed customer demand for its services has returned to pre-Covid levels, with its flexible office space becoming increasingly attractive in an era of hybrid working.


The company completed 1,520 lettings in the twelve months up to the end of March 2022, for a total rental value of £30m.


Like-for-like occupancy is now up 7.8 percentage points to 89.6 per cent, while like-for-like rent roll up has risen 8.7 percentage points to £92.9m.


The boost in demand has helped the company rebound from a year of deep losses.


Workspace has now recovered from being £235.9m in the red last year, to making a profit before tax of £124m this year.


Alongside customer demand, the turnaround also reflects rising interest rates and property valuations.


For the full-year, Workspace’s trading profits after interest were up 21 per cent to £46.9m, driven by a 6.4 per cent increase in net rental income to £86.7m.


Its total dividend was up 21 per cent to 21.5p per share, an increase from 17.75p last year


Meanwhile, the company’s overall portfolio valuation has risen to £2.4bn, an underlying uplift of three per cent (£69m) from last year.


The company has engaged in a flurry of acquisitions and sales for its portfolio to expand its footprint.


Workspace acquired The Old Dairy in Shoreditch for £43m last September, the Busworks in Islington for £45m in November, and post year-end it completed the acquisition of McKay Securities PLC for £258m last month.


Over the full-year period, it has also sold 13-17 Fitzroy Street in Fitzrovia for £92m, and Highway Business Park in Limehouse for £24m.


As for refurbishments, it completed the refurbishment of Pall Mall Deposit in Ladbroke Grove last September, and opened Mirror Works, a new business centre in Stratford, one month later.


The company has a healthy pipeline of redevelopment activity projected to deliver 1.2m square feet of new and upgraded space over the next five years.


Chief executive Graham Clemett said: “Our focus over the past year has been to support our customers’ return to the office, rebuild like-for-like occupancy back to 90 per cent and drive trading profit growth. I am delighted that we have been able to deliver on these targets, reflecting the fantastic efforts of the Workspace team, the quality of space and facilities we provide and the attractions of our distinctive flexible offer.”


City A.M. (Nicholas Earl) - https://www.cityam.com/customer-demand-drives-post-lockdown-rebound-for-office-giant-workspace/

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London office starts set to surge over next 6 months


London is set for a surge in office project starts over the next six months driven by pent up demand and improved building energy perfornce.


According to Deloitte’s latest London Office Crane survey report there is currently 2.7m sq ft of planned office buildings in demolition phase and scheduled to start before the end of September.


The projects will continue to follow the trend of a decline in new build and growth in sizeable refurbishments as pressure continues to re-use and recycle says the survey.


The most anticipated is the redevelopment of BT’s former headquarters, the 729,000 sq ft 81 Newgate Street near St Paul’s Cathedral.


A substantial retrofit will transform this imposing 1980s office block by spring 2025 with sustainability credentials a key influence on design.


Mike Cracknell, director in real estate at Deloitte, said: “Increased new starts – especially of refurbishments – reflects anticipated renewal of existing stock to provide sustainable and quality space now strongly demanded by occupiers.”


He added that the longer term outlook would remain strong as property owners and developers sought to upgrade building performance.


“A raft of delays, partly driven by supply chain disruption and labour shortages, contributed to a lag for developments to complete. Despite this, the market is displaying resilience with appetite amongst investors remaining strong. This coupled with occupier demand is contributing to confidence in the city.”


This sentiment is echoed by developers, with two-thirds saying they intend to increase their pipelines in the next six months.


At the same time, new Minimum Energy Efficiency legislation currently passing through parliament is anticipated to radically tighten standards, with minimum compliance levels moving from Grade E to Grade B by 2030.


The survey estimates that 80% of London office stock will need to be upgraded. This is equivalent to around 15 million sq ft per annum.


In the past six months 36 schemes started. Notably, 31 of these were comprehensive refurbishments.


This reflected cost-related challenges with new build and appreciation of the embodied carbon within existing structures increasing preference to refurbish, re-use and recycle are clear.


Construction Enquirer (Aaron Morby) - https://www.constructionenquirer.com/2022/05/23/london-office-starts-set-to-surge-over-next-6-months/

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Landsec reports record London office leasing as it returns to profit


Land Securities has reported record office leasing in London as the lifting of Covid restrictions fuels a return of workers and a surge in demand for prime space, as the property company bounced back to profit last year.


Landsec is one of Britain’s biggest property firms and about 60% of its portfolio is in central London. It reported a pre-tax profit of £875m in the year to the end of March.


The company, which owns offices such as Deutsche Bank’s London headquarters and an office complex near St Paul’s Cathedral, reported a loss of £1.4bn the previous year as the coronavirus pandemic shut down offices across the UK.


“Reports of the demise of office working may have been premature, judging by a return to profit for Land Securities,” said Russ Mould, the investment director at AJ Bell. “Astonishingly in central London the company is seeing record leasing levels. In a competitive jobs market where employers probably want their staff in the office at least some of the time, attractive locations with flexible space are a must.”


Landsec said it intends to cash in on the post-pandemic office space boom by investing £3bn in “sustainable London offices and mixed use development” over the next five years.


The company said that it struck a record £63m of office leases in the past year, on average 4% ahead of valuers’ assumptions. Landsec said office occupancy across its portfolio reached 95.3%, “demonstrating strong demand for high-quality space”.


Landsec’s shopping mall portfolio, which includes Bluewater in Kent and Trinity Leeds, also experienced a return to growth in the second half of its financial year.


Like-for-like retail sales were 1.1% ahead of its 2019/20 financial year and occupancy rose 1.7 percentage points to 93.2%, as retailers hoped to take advantage of shoppers returning to malls. Landsec, which paid £126m for an additional 18.75% stake in Bluewater and £426m for a 75% stake in MediaCityUK in Greater Manchester during the year, said that it signed, or is processing, £29m of lettings deals for retail space.


“There has been a recovery in Landsec’s retail locations too as restrictions ease, with the landlord putting effort in making these attractive destinations for shoppers,” Mould said. “Occupancy rates are also up – though this recovery could be cut short as households cut back on spending amid cost of living pressures.”


Landsec’s portfolio of offices and shops increased in value by 11% year on year, from £10.8bn to £12bn.


“Landsec has delivered strong operational and financial results despite the turbulence within the UK economy,” the LandSec chief executive, Mark Allan, said. “The actions we have taken, driven by our strategic focus on three distinct areas have resulted in record leasing in our London office portfolio, a return to growth in our major retail destinations and clear, substantive progress in growing our mixed-use urban neighbourhood portfolio.”


Landsec hopes to sell 21 Moorfields, Deutsche Bank’s new City of London offices, for about £1bn and Allan said that sale is one of “three or four” London office disposals he is considering.


“We continue to recycle capital out of mature assets, while our pipeline now offers the opportunity to invest £3bn in sustainable London offices and mixed-use development over the next five years at attractive returns,” he said.


The Guardian (Mark Sweney) - https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/may/17/landsec-london-office-leasing-profit-bluewater-trinity-leeds

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Office rents soar along Elizabeth Line route


The long-awaited arrival of the new Elizabeth Line has tempted companies to base themselves outside of London’s traditional office hubs, sending office rents soaring in some of the capital’s lesser-known business areas.


The Elizabeth Line, or Crossrail as it was originally known, opens to the public today, having first been announced 14 years ago. The 62-mile line runs through the middle of London, connecting Berkshire to Essex and southeast London. Commuters will be able to get from Paddington to Canary Wharf in 16 minutes — about half the time it previously took.


In anticipation of its opening, in recent years companies have ventured farther away from the usual office bases in the City of London or the West End, which has put a rocket under rents in some of the capital’s smaller office markets.


Since 2008, when Crossrail was first announced, rents in Clerkenwell and Shoreditch, on the northern and eastern edges of the City, have surged by 123 per cent, according to data from Cushman & Wakefield, the property agent.


In Paddington, where the new station is the size of three football pitches, rents on prime office buildings have risen 45 per cent over that time.


By contrast, Cushman found that office rents in the City have moved 21 per cent higher since 2008. In the West End they have nudged up only 2 per cent. Historically these two areas were London’s two best-performing areas for office rents.


Patrick Scanlon, head of UK offices insights at Cushman & Wakefield, said that the building of the Elizabeth Line had helped in “changing the dynamic of London’s commercial real estate market”.


He added: “It encouraged occupiers to consider new locations and real estate developers to deliver high-quality office schemes in new areas of the capital which had previously been largely ignored. Much of this was due to the prospect of improved connectivity from east to west.”


There has been much talk among the big developers and landlords of a “flight to quality” after the pandemic. Businesses are keen to use modern, best-in-class offices to attract workers amid a hot jobs market, while having the most sustainable space possible is helpful for their net zero ambitions.


However, Ben Cullen, Cushman’s head of offices, believes that “quality” also encompasses a building’s location and proximity to large transport hubs.


He said: “We have seen a clear flight to quality in the office occupier market, which goes beyond the quality of the building; it incorporates the quality of the local area, including places to socialise and, crucially, transport.”


Underlining the importance of connectivity, office rents in King’s Cross and Southbank, with London Bridge on its doorstep, have also outperformed, Cushman found.


Cullen said that offices in Clerkenwell and Shoreditch had been the “real Crossrail winners” and he expects that rents there will continue to outperform the wider London market.


The Times (Tom Howard) - https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/office-rents-soar-along-elizabeth-line-route-tx5tmmz8m

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Death of the office greatly exaggerated, says landlord


The boss of one of London’s biggest landlords has conceded that offices will probably never again be as busy as they were before the pandemic.


Businesses have changed the way they operate, Toby Courtauld, chief executive of GPE, acknowledged, although he is also adamant that those who predicted the “death of the office” have been proved “plain wrong”.


GPE, which owns a multibillion-pound portfolio mainly comprised of offices in the capital, swung back to a profit in its latest financial year on the back of a record year of leasing.


It turned a profit of £167.2 million in the year to the end of March, having fallen to a loss of £201.9 million in the previous 12 months. The recovery was driven by an uplift in the value of its property portfolio, which rose 6.1 per cent across the year to £2.65 billion.


GPE’s net asset value increased by 7.2 per cent to 835p, although its shares continue to trade at a steep discount to that. Yesterday the stock fell 34p, or 5 per cent, to 640p.


Formerly known as Great Portland Estates, it became a quoted company in 1959 after the acquisition of the property holdings of Basil and Howard Samuel, cousins of Lord Samuel, the founder of Land Securities. About 80 per cent of GPE’s assets are central London office buildings, including 18 Hanover Square in Mayfair, home of KKR, the private equity firm, which has a 5.4 per cent stake in its landlord.


In the year to March, the group agreed a record £38.5 million of new leasing deals, with tenants on average paying nearly 10 per cent above what bosses expected this time last year. Courtauld, 54, said that London’s “magnetism” was very much still evident.


“Businesses have been coming out of Covid and growing again and I think they recognise the value of a place like London,” he said. “It’s a melting pot of talent, it’s fun and it’s where the kids want to be.”


Occupancy at GPE’s office buildings is picking up although it is still below where it was pre-Covid and Courtauld is “not sure that we’ll get back there”.


He said there has been a “really interesting change in approach” in how occupiers use their offices, including as a showroom to attract new staff.


All of the big landlords have reported in recent months that businesses now want “prime” office space. Rents for those best-in-class spaces are likely to keep on rising, GPE says.


The Times (Tom Howard) - https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/death-of-the-office-greatly-exaggerated-says-landlord-d906s7370

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High-end London offices still in demand despite hybrid working


Companies have been snapping up new high-end office space at record levels, according to the boss of Landsec, as the great return to the office continues.


The company reported leasing deals for central London office worth £63 million in the year to 31 March at average let prices 4% higher than valuers had predicted.


Overall, Landsec’s offices are now 95.3% full, the company said.


Mark Allan, chief executive of Landsec, said: “People’s use of the office has changed and people are taking advantage of remote working.”


But the so-called “war for talent” was ensuring that high-end office space remained in demand.


He said employers wanted to be “offering the right quality of space so people can come in and collaborate and do things they can’t do from home”.


Companies are keen to sign up for flexible space that can be used for different things, he added, leading to polarisation in the market where lower quality space was still suffering.


Landsec also reported an improving picture for its retail assets, with occupancy up to 93.2%.


Plans to encourage shoppers back into stores, such as charging for online returns, were increasing footfall, Allen said.


Landsec increased its stake in the Bluewater shopping centre by a further 18.75% during the year and ploughed £426 million into acquiring part of Media City in Salford, where it plans further redevelopment.


Its net assets per share, which indicates the underlying value of the business, rose from 975p to £10.70 during the year.


Elsewhere in the sector, West End landlord Shaftesbury has bought the lower floors of 92-104 Berwick Street in Soho for £27.5 million.


The space is currently mostly vacant, but Shaftesbury said it felt confident about letting the space given the popularity of the area and the upcoming boost from the new Elizabeth line.


Evening Standard (Rhiannon Curry) - https://www.standard.co.uk/business/london-offices-landsec-leasing-property-hybrid-wfh-b1000455.html

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Remote workers bag a desk at their local supermarket


Working from home was so 2020. This year, people want to work from their . . . local supermarket?


So says IWG, the FTSE 250 office landlord, which is opening a new flexible office space at a Tesco Extra in New Malden, south London.


The store’s upper mezzanine level — totalling 3,800 sq ft — has been fitted out with desks, co-working spaces and a meeting room. The office, which will be run under IWG’s Spaces brand, will open to workers towards the end of this month, although they won’t benefit from in-store perks or discounts.


“Convenience is, for some, not leaving their house or going to Starbucks,” Mark Dixon, the founder and chief executive of IWG, said. “For others, who don’t want the distractions that you get at Starbucks but still want to work locally, what better place than the local supermarket?”


Dixon, 62, plans to open more than 1,000 new offices this year and said he has been inundated with requests from retailers looking to repurpose their surplus space.


It was Tesco that first approached him about the possibility of opening an office in its store. “We’re talking [with Tesco] about other stores and we’re talking with other retailers as well,” he said. Dixon accepts the concept will raise eyebrows among some, but points out in-store cafés were a novelty a couple of decades ago. “Think of all the other things that you have in a supermarket today that you didn’t 20 years ago,” he added.


Dixon founded IWG, or Regus as it was then, in 1989. It is now the world’s biggest serviced offices provider, with about 3,500 centres in 120 countries. Dixon is its largest shareholder, with a 28.6 per cent stake worth close to £700 million.


Louise Goodland, head of strategic partnerships at Tesco, said it was “always looking to serve our customers and communities better”.


The Times (Tom Howard) - https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/remote-workers-bag-a-desk-at-their-local-supermarket-wrkk355bm

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Death of the office? Don’t tell City businesses as leases shoot up in the first quarter


London’s office market looks fitter and healthier than ever before, according to the two of the UK’s largest property firms, despite the lures of working from home.


Take up of office leases in central London shot up 89 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter, CBRE data shared exclusively with City A.M. revealed. 


City firms to bet on the office return include law firm Hogan Lovells, which pre-let the largest space in the period, with 280,000 sq ft at 21 Holborn Viaduct, EC1. 


There was a particular uptick in smaller deals typically seen before Covid, CBRE’s head of London office brokerage, Rob Madden, said.


A total of 1.7m sq ft of deals under 20,000 sq ft were signed across 351 individual transactions. This was just over a third more than transacted in any other quarter since Covid hit.


Office space under offer in the heart of the capital totalled 3.9m sq ft, above a 10-year average of 3.3m sq ft.


Meanwhile, London-headquartered Savills has reported office demand topping a five-year high.


Nearly a third of office occupiers are increasing the amount of space they are after, data from Savills found, as businesses look to scale their headcount and operations post-pandemic. 


The majority (41 per cent) of central London occupiers are looking to double the amount of space they currently occupy – which is around 10,000 sq ft.


“We continue to see a rise of inward movers into London’s rapidly emerging new office districts,” said Jon Gardiner, head of central London office leasing at Savills, citing Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis relocating to new offices at White City from the Thames Valley in 2020.


“These companies see London as a key tool in the war for talent,” Gardiner explained. “They are looking for amenity rich, well connected urban campuses.”


While the battle for top-talent shows no signs of slowing, London commercial property analyst at Savills, Victoria Bajela, suggested that the spiralling cost-of-living crisis could see occupiers opt for smaller but better-quality spaces – though this is a trend that is yet to appear.


City A.M. (Emily Hawkins and Millie Turner) - https://www.cityam.com/race-for-space-central-london-office-demand-back-on-track/

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GPE to more than double London flex offering to 600,000 sq ft


GPE has said it wants to more than double its flexible workspace offering in London.


The FTSE 250 development company has announced its ambition to increase its flex portfolio in the capital from 250,000 sq ft currently to around 600,000 sq ft.


The company said it recognised that flexible offices were becoming the mainstream options for businesses seeking under 10,000 sq ft of space, and that it wanted to offer greater choice to customers.


Simon Rowley, director of office leasing and flex at GPE, said: “We have been delivering flex space since 2018 and the existing portfolio is well suited, with the service already available in over 11 London locations, covering some 250,000 sq ft.


“Our ambitions more than double our existing flex footprint, with the opportunity to grow further by buying buildings. We’re off to a great start having recently acquired 7/15 Gresse Street, in the heart of Fitzrovia, for our fully managed offer to meet the deep customer demand and deliver a market-leading service and amenity provision in a well-designed, tech-enabled and sustainable space.”


The plans include offering three rebranded products, a ‘ready-to-fit’ option, a fully furnished ‘fitted’ option and ‘fully managed’ workspaces.


GPE’s current London flex offering includes 16 Durfour’s Place, Soho, The Hickman in Whitechapel and Elm Yard in Clerkenwell.


Steven Mew, customer experience and flex director of GPE, said: “Our goal is to provide greater choice for our many customers and meet the increasing demand for flexible workspaces within our portfolio that’s already packed with opportunity.


“As the world continues to return to offices after the pandemic, businesses are looking to achieve a greater degree of agility, a larger number of employees want hybrid working and technology is playing its part as we steer away from the old ways of working towards smarter and sustainable workplaces.


“And it’s not just about SMEs, larger corporates are increasingly utilising flex space as part of their real estate strategies.”


Property Week (Jamie Bennett-Ness) - https://www.propertyweek.com/news/gpe-to-more-than-double-london-flex-offering-to-600000-sq-ft/5119901.article

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UK office space demand bounces back in 2022, says RICS


The start of 2022, saw an increase in the demand for office space, as new tenants look to rent more UK commercial property, according to the RICS Commercial Property Market Survey, Q1 2022.


Respondents to the survey saw a notable increase in UK office space demand in Q1 2022 with the net balance improving to +30% from a flat picture at the end of 2021.


A considerable change in sentiment was also seen in the retail sector, as occupier demand moved into relatively neutral territory (-1% net balance), the first time this reading has been neutral or positive since the beginning of 2017.


The commercial property sector as a whole has reported an increase in occupier demand at the all-sector level (retail, office and industrial uses).


Investor enquiries also rose in the first part of 2022, with the strongest figure since Q3 2015. Moreover, for the first time since 2017, investment enquiries are now in positive territory across each of the three traditional market sectors separately (office, industrial and retail).


Investor demand for office space rose in 2022


The investor demand for office space rose from a net balance of +5% at the end of 2021 to +23% in Q1 2022, and the net balance of respondents predicting a rise in capital values for the prime office sector is the most positive since Q4 2019 (+37% net balance).


With the jump in occupier demand for new office space, rents are expected to rise with a net balance of +19% expecting a rise, compared to +7% in the last quarter.


On a regional level, rent for office space in central London are anticipated to outpace most other UK regions, while the South East remains the only region in which secondary office space is predicted to see growth.


The latest research published by RICS in March has shown that high-quality and well-managed commercial real estate, such as office space  is integral to levelling up UK towns and cities.


The office sector is showing strong signs of recovery


Tarrant Parsons, RICS economist, commented: “The latest survey feedback points to demand from both occupiers and investors gaining momentum over the quarter, with the office sector in particular now showing signs of recovery.


“This has led to an upgrading in expectations for capital value and rental growth across prime offices, while the prolonged downward trend in portions of the retail sector also now appears to be easing.


“That said, given the current headwinds facing the UK economy in form of sharply rising energy prices, higher interest rates and general cost of living pressures, there is understandably a lot of caution regarding the potential impact this could have on market conditions going forward.”


The report has emphasised the key role the commercial property sector plays in the UK


Jonathan Hale, head of government affairs at RICS, added: “UK commercial property is clearly still attractive to investors and UK Government should work across the country to engage with the sector to build on this positive outlook.


“The recent RICS commercial real estate impact report emphasised the key role that the commercial property sector currently plays in the UK and its future role in driving forward economic recovery across the UK.


“As town centres, high streets and offices start to recover following the pandemic, a thriving commercial real estate industry will be crucial to support the government’s levelling up and net zero ambitions in the months ahead.”


PBC Today - https://www.pbctoday.co.uk/news/planning-construction-news/rics-office-space-demand/110068/

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Race for space: Central London office demand back on track


London’s office market looks fitter and healthier than ever before, according to the two of the UK’s largest property firms, despite the lures of working from home.


Take up of office leases in central London shot up 89 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter, CBRE data shared exclusively with City A.M. revealed. 


City firms to bet on the office return include law firm Hogan Lovells, which pre-let the largest space in the period, with 280,000 sq ft at 21 Holborn Viaduct, EC1.


There was a particular uptick in smaller deals typically seen before Covid, CBRE’s head of London office brokerage, Rob Madden, said.


A total of 1.7m sq ft of deals under 20,000 sq ft were signed across 351 individual transactions. This was just over a third more than transacted in any other quarter since Covid hit.


Office space under offer in the heart of the capital totalled 3.9m sq ft, above a 10-year average of 3.3m sq ft.


Meanwhile, London-headquartered Savills has reported office demand topping a five-year high.


Nearly a third of office occupiers are increasing the amount of space they are after, data from Savills found, as businesses look to scale their headcount and operations post-pandemic. 


The majority (41 per cent) of central London occupiers are looking to double the amount of space they currently occupy – which is around 10,000 sq ft.


“We continue to see a rise of inward movers into London’s rapidly emerging new office districts,” said Jon Gardiner, head of central London office leasing at Savills, citing Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis relocating to new offices at White City from the Thames Valley in 2020, and Microsoft looking for 500,000 sq ft in its HQ move from Reading.


“These companies see London as a key tool in the war for talent,” Gardiner explained. “They are looking for amenity rich, well connected urban campuses.”


While the battle for top-talent shows no signs of slowing, London commercial property analyst at Savills, Victoria Bajela, suggested that the spiralling cost-of-living crisis could see occupiers opt for smaller but better-quality spaces – though this is a trend that is yet to appear.


City A.M. (Emily Hawkins and Millie Turner) - https://www.cityam.com/race-for-space-central-london-office-demand-back-on-track/

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Demand for offices in the Square Mile hits new record, says Savills


The demand for offices in central London has hit a new record, according to Savills, dismissing concerns that working from home has taken over the Square Mile.


With an eyewatering £3.3bn having changed hands in the City over the past three months, the record figure is nearly a third higher than the previous record in the first quarter of 2007.


The £1.2bn deal for UBS’ Broadgate HQ to LaSalle Investment Management on behalf of NPS – the second largest single transaction on record in the City – buoyed the marked activity in London’s business district.


It signals a massive year-on-year increase of 540 per cent. A trend that has crept to the West End, which has been the heart of more than 260 per cent surge in appetite this quarter, Savills added.


Activity in the West End was dominated by domestic buyers, in terms of numbers, who accounted for some 60 per cent of transactions in the first quarter – while the City continued to catch the eyes of global investors.


The size of assets available in the Square Mile proved particularly enticing on the global real estate plain, the London-headquartered real estate firm said, despite geopolitical and inflationary headwinds.


Stephen Down, head of Central London investment at Savills, called the figures “nothing short of stellar”, a return to “more normal” trading conditions following pandemic restrictions ushered in greater levels of investment.


And the horizon looks bright for central London office property, with a strong volume of stock.


However, “the increased cost of finance and macro-political uncertainty is having a greater impact on buyer decisions in London just as it is around the globe,” Down cautioned.


City A.M. (Millie Turner) - https://www.cityam.com/demand-for-offices-in-the-square-mile-hits-new-record-says-savills/

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The World’s Most Beautiful Co-Working Spaces


Working patterns have been thrown up in the air over the past two years, and we’re just starting to see where the pieces have fallen. With a more nomadic, flexible approach seemingly set to stay, co-working spaces are increasingly looking like the answer to many people’s work-life balance, Many businesses are looking to great design as a differentiator – a way to pull in new clients and keep them happy – so Portaire has scoured the globe to find the spaces that have best responded to workers’ needs, both creative and practical.‍


1. LABS Victoria House, London

This imposing classical building takes up a whole block in central London’s Holborn, and inside, the interiors are just as grand, with a soaring travertine-clad lobby setting the scene. Architect Hutchinson & Partners has remodelled the building, updating an earlier rethink by Will Allsop that included, among other things, amorphous meeting pods hanging from the ceiling. The pods have stayed but now there’s a sophistication and a material warmth to the scheme: bronze and stone complement the travertine, curving timber partitions separate out smaller meeting booths, and marble and timber kitchens add a touch of domesticity. As well as workspace, Victoria House has a ‘wellness suite’, space for larger meetings and events, and a café in the lobby.


2. The Malin, New York

Opened in November 2021, The Malin taps into the hospitality design experience of interiors studio Fettle, and is clearly taking its cues from the more service-focused hotel industry: a concierge-like executive assistant can run errands in the area and there’s even a small retail space, just like the best boutique hotels. The interiors co-opt the cream of US design, both mid-20th-century and contemporary, from Eames chairs to lighting from Roll & Hill and wallpaper from Calico, with monthly changing artwork courtesy of e-commerce site Platform. Richly coloured upholstery – dark green, blue and mustard – sings out against the white walls and steel columns, while the timber desks, doors and windows add warmth.


3. Crew Collective, Montreal

Architect Henri Cleinge had some pretty impressive raw material to play with when he took on this project to create a café and co-working space from the former Royal Bank building in Old Montreal, builtin 1926. The ground floor main banking hall has 15m-high ceilings and 1,100 square metres of space, framed by enormous arched windows and topped by an ornate plaster ceiling. The row of original bank teller stands acts as a barrier between the central café and the conference rooms behind it, while freestanding brass-plated minimalist enclosures host space for quieter working: the brass picks up on the existing lighting fixtures and detailing of the teller windows.


4. Neue House Bradbury, Los Angeles

Neue House has locations in Los Angeles and New York (with Miami coming soon), but none so grand as LA’s Bradbury Building, an ornate architectural masterpiece originally built in 1893. The co-working space takes up the entire second floor and is the work of interior design studio Design Agency, which completed the project in early 2020. The studio opted for simple, modern calming spaces that complement rather than compete with the building’s ornate atrium with its marble staircases, elegant iron work balustrades and huge roof light. A pastel palette, parquet floors and softly draping neutral linens at the windows lend a bright and breezy feel. The Wyman Bar, named after the building’s original architect, is where members go to relax after a day at the coalface, and features a marble-topped bar, ruby-red bar stools and soft globe lighting by Lee Broom.


5. Douglas House, London

The Office Group (TOG) is no young upstart, having blazed a trail for design-led co-working spaces in London since its founding in 2004. For Douglas House, which opened in early 2021, it once again called on the talents of Sweden’s Note Design Studio, which was charged with turning an uninspiring office building in the West End into something with a bit more personality. Note describes the effect as a “gentle punch”: a huge desk clad in blue Alpi veneer (created by Ettore Sottsass in the 1980s and forever synonymous with playful postmodernism) greets visitors, while an undulating wall of glass blocks runs the length of the ground floor, concealing a bank of meeting rooms. Feeling burnt out? Visit the Recharge Room, a womb-like relaxation space with a halo light installation on the wall, or the OxygenRoom, full of greenery and daylight.


6. Liberty House, London

Another project by The Office Group, this space shows how the parent company creates a sense of place that responds to the architecture and the wider neighbourhood. Liberty House is on Regent Street, adjacent to the revered Liberty department store (it was originally used as stock rooms, and to house the store’s workers) and aims to reflect the creativity and craftsmanship of one of London’s best-loved retail experiences. Designers SODA Studio took some elements of the palette from Liberty’s famous textile designs, working with artist Adriana Jaros to create the colour scheme, and the spaces are full of soft, sculptural furniture from the likes of Gubiand Sovet. The interiors also have a strong sustainability focus, with flooring made from timber offcuts and surfaces made from Altrock, which resembles large-scale terrazzo and incorporates marble offcuts.


7. The Bureau 25 rue du 4 Septembre, Paris

Located between the Place de l’Opéra and the Bourse, this is The Bureau’s third location in Paris. Lauded French architect Franklin Azzi devised the interiors, looking not to the building’s 19th-century roots but mid-20th-century America and the work of Frank LloydWright, with swish oak panelling and built-in joinery, as well as the 1970s, resulting in mirrored strips on one wall and a sunken conversation pit. Cult lifestyle blog The Socialite Family sourced the furniture, lighting and accessories (as it has for all of The Bureau’s locations), including an imposing Murano glass chandelier hanging above the meeting-room table, a vintage Osvaldo Borsani piece. A leafy outdoor patio provides a secluded space to unwind and there’ salso an on-site restaurant and gym.


8. Soho Works White City, London

Laptops are frowned upon at Soho House, so in 2015 the private members’ club group bowed to inevitable demand and moved into the co-working industry, giving its loyal members somewhere to work as well as play. Soho Works now has eight locations in the UK and US, all based within or close to its houses and featuring the same colourful, comfortable and eclectic styling, designed by the in-house team. The White City outpost in West London is based in Television Centre, former base of the BBC, and unsurprisingly has more of the feel of a gorgeous hotel lounge, mixing vintage, modern and bespoke pieces, while glazed partitions and large timber shelving units breakup large space into cosy corners.‍


Portaire - https://www.portaire.com/journal/the-worlds-most-beautiful-co-working-spaces

Photo by Shridhar Gupta on Unsplash

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The boss of London’s oldest office provider returns from retirement to drive the City’s bounce-back


As we passed the two-year anniversary of the first lockdown last month, City A.M. sits down with the CEO of London’s oldest office provider, who came out of retirement to drive the business’ post-Covid recovery.


Shedding light on how the business and City has suffered, Argyll CEO John Drover reveals to this paper how his company plans to build back and shape the pandemic recovery.


Drover, as the chief executive of Argyll, which has over 30 premium flexible workspaces as a landlord to 8,000 professionals across the City and wider capital. has a familiar face in the City since the 90s.


He saw the business through the GFC and dotcom crashes but returned from retirement this year to lead its pandemic bounce-back, so has a fascinating story to tell.


For example, Pret A Manger’s index shows the City of London is only at 76 per cent of pre-Covid levels, a sign that workers are trickling rather than flooding back to the Square Mile.


However, Argyll’s occupancy stats present a fascinating counter-view: some of its buildings west of the City have been at 100% occupancy throughout the pandemic and buildings in Mayfair are already at 80% and rising. London is bouncing back but is its central hub moving from east to west?


You returned from retirement to get Argyll through the pandemic. Given you saw the business through the GFC and dotcom crashes, what lessons did you learn and how have they been applied to the business’ pandemic bounce-back?


You’re right, I was part of Argyll (then called London Executive Offices) as it navigated these various crashes in the early 00s. I came out of retirement last year because I saw a great opportunity to rebuild and grow Argyll into London’s finest flex office business.


The key takeaway from these downturns that I took on board when tackling Covid-19 was the importance of a diverse customer base and the ability to respond to a crisis quickly.


When the GFC struck, we were more prepared, as we had diversified our client base with smaller space occupiers across a wide range of sectors. As a result, occupancy was far more protected in the GFC.


Now, looking at the effects of the pandemic, Covid-19 hit all sectors at the same time with little warning; overnight, businesses left their desks en masse to work from home. By the time I returned to Argyll in February 2021, our occupancy had fallen to below the levels of the dotcom crash, so I anticipated a 3-year recovery in line with previous downturns.


However, the bounce-back looks set to be far quicker than this – we predict to be back at pre-pandemic levels by this summer, equating to a fast, 2-year V-shaped recovery. In part, this rebound is due to the fact many companies didn’t have their own downturns – Covid just forced them to operate from home for a while.


I understand that some of your buildings in the west of the City have been at high occupancy rates throughout the pandemic. Which areas of London are bouncing back fastest and why?


Yes, our offices in Chelsea and Belgravia retained high levels of occupancy throughout the pandemic and this probably reflects the nature of our customers in these areas – small boutique firms with employees living a short distance away from the office. Post-lockdown, these areas have continued to thrive while the City and West End caught up very rapidly.


Does this indicate that London’s financial hub may move from east to west? And what does it reveal about the post-pandemic strategies of London’s businesses?


The truth is that boutique financial services firms have always clustered in the West End and will continue to be drawn to the area due to the amenities and brand credentials it offers them.


Conversely, larger financial institutions will remain in the City due to the availability of large office spaces.  Many firms have missed the ability to meet with clients, network with peers and develop new recruits during the pandemic – all things that an office in prime Central London can offer on its doorstep.


Is flexible working just a fad?


Far from it. Flexible working is not a new concept in London. Long before ‘Zoom’ or ‘WFH’ appeared in the public consciousness, many of the capital’s finance professionals were working flexibly. Their deal-orientated work meant they would be in the office when a deal was closing or for client meetings, but could work from home on quieter days.


At Argyll, our clients have been working this way for over 20 years. Many have operated to their own schedules since acquiring their first BlackBerrys in 2003 and our offices have always been quieter on Mondays and Fridays, so we are not seeing any dramatic ‘flexible working’ sea-change post-pandemic. Flexible working has been here for some time and is here to stay.


Interestingly, we haven’t seen our customers demand more flexibility since the pandemic. We have been offering hybrid and hot desking solutions over the last year but overwhelmingly these small working groups still want their own private offices where every member of the team has a desk to work from.


Ultimately, why are financial service firms sticking with bricks and mortar and investing in their London HQs?


I think it comes down to the nature of the industry. The financial world is built on relationships, so the face-to-face communications with colleagues and clients, facilitated by office working, is vital to their day-to-day operations. It is clear that remote working has lost its charm for many and London’s professionals are eager to make the most of the collaboration and creativity that being in the office together again can enable.


Having a prestigious address is invaluable in building and maintaining a credible reputation – something that remote working during the pandemic has only underscored.


Given this, the future of work for many London businesses is simple: occupy great buildings in prime locations that combine first-class customer service and excellent amenity space with contractual flexibility, all for a simple monthly fee. In short, businesses pay for what they want, when they need it, but do not compromise on facilities, location or productivity.


City A.M. (Michiel Willems) - https://www.cityam.com/exclusive-the-boss-of-londons-oldest-office-provider-returns-from-retirement-to-drive-the-citys-bounce-back/

Photo by Kai Pilger on Unsplash

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Bureau Recruits Well-Known City Agent


Boutique office advisory business Bureau has appointed well-known City agent Stephen Foster as a director.


Foster has 14 years’ experience in the central London office leasing market and has spent the last nine years at HK London, advising clients including Helical, Blackstone, Columbia Threadneedle, Berkeley Group and LaSalle Asset Management.


In his role he will continue to advise central London investors, developers and occupiers on leasing strategy, disposals and acquisitions.


Bureau was founded in 2021 by flexible office sector expert Catherine Alexander, formerly of Gryphon Property Partners, and a director at JLL. Ed Huggins of Landmark and Gryphon joined the firm as director in September.


Alexander said in a statement: "Stephen brings vast experience and an enviable reputation as a City and City Fringe office agency specialist. He will be spearheading our leasing team, harnessing the valuable expertise he’s acquired over the last nine years as director at one of London’s leading niche agency firms whilst utilising Bureau’s close links with the serviced office sector."


Foster added: "I’ve worked with Catherine and Ed for a number of years and admire their in-depth market understanding and forward-thinking advice. The flexible and traditional office leasing markets have converged, as a result of rapidly changing business conditions for occupiers and an increasing need for flexibility; requiring a cross-market approach. With our understanding of how these needs can be met, we plan to provide significant value-add for our clients."


Other senior hires are expected to be announced later this year.

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Currys to vacate HQ in switch to flexible working for office staff


As part of its new model Currys will provide its 1,400 corporate workforce with WeWork All Access passes, enabling them to visit over 50 UK WeWork locations.


The Sunday Times reported Currys will vacate its head office in Acton as part of the move to flexible working.


Additionally, to support regional hubs, Currys will also be refurbishing a number of spaces in its own stores across the UK, giving colleagues even more flexibility about where they work.


Alex Baldock, chief executive of Currys said: “We are not just paying lip service to hybrid working as we come out of the pandemic. We have listened to our colleagues, who have been outstanding through Covid’s many challenges, and have implemented the changes they wanted to see.


“Our workspace of the future embraces what genuine hybrid working means, not just where you work, but how you work. We want to bring our people together again, but in a way that works for them. We are really excited to unlock the potential of truly hybrid working and believe that being innovative today will prepare us for how we adapt to new ways of working in the future.”


Samit Chopra, president and chief operating officer international at WeWork, added: “As more and more companies welcome people back to the office, many are embracing hybrid work schedules that empower people with flexibility to provide new opportunities for teams to collaborate in-person. We continue to see growing demand from forward-thinking companies like Currys, and we are delighted to bring their new hybrid working model to life for their teams.”


Property Week (David Parsley) - https://www.propertyweek.com/news/currys-to-vacate-hq-in-switch-to-flexible-working-for-office-staff/5119639.article

Photo by Charles Koh on Unsplash

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Return of office staff at new high in London after Covid


London offices are fuller than at any time since the start of the pandemic as the return to commuting gathers pace, data has revealed.


Office occupancy reached 42 per cent last Thursday, exceeding the previous highwater mark of 40.1 per cent recorded on October 14 last year when London was still opening up after the third lockdown. Average occupancy was about 63 per cent before the first work-from-home order was issued by Boris Johnson in March 2020, but immediately fell to close to below 10 per cent.


Commuters have only slowly gone back to their pre-pandemic habits and working from home still remains the favoured option for the majority on Mondays and Fridays.


According to the Freespace Index, a measure compiled by workplace sensors company Freespace, occupancy last week was 25 per cent on Monday, 40 per cent Tuesday, 36 per cent Wednesday before the 42 per cent peak on Thursday.


However, on Friday it plummeted to just 13 per cent. Across the week as a whole it averages 31 per cent in London, still roughly half pre-pandemic levels.


Freespace boss Raj Krishnamurthy said: “It seems there’s plenty of life in the office yet. We are heading in a positive direction with occupancy, but this has now become more purposeful in terms of how people want to work, what spaces they are using, and what the overall purpose of the office is.”


Separate data from sandwich chain Pret a Manger also showed that sales in its central London outlets were fast returning to pre-pandemic levels. Last week they were slightly ahead of the January 2020 benchmark while in the City they were at 88 per cent of “normal”.


Meanwhile a poll by the City of London Corporation found that 72 per cent of full-time workers feel that building business relationships is easier when based in the office.


Evening Standard (Jonathan Prynn) - https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/office-wfh-london-covid-lockdown-working-form-home-b988774.html

Photo by Anna Dziubinska on Unsplash

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London office space provider set to grow as new services launch


London office space provider WorkPad plans to double the size of its business and launch new service lines for landlords and occupiers.


WorkPad has added six ‘big name’ occupiers and completed over forty transactions in the past three months, including household name brands, FTSE 100 companies, design houses and well-known fashion brands.


As a result of the client acquisitions, WorkPad is adding 51,000 sq.ft of office space across its portfolio, split over seven properties.


The new properties will be in a range of locations in Central London, including St. James, Fitzrovia, Marylebone, Bloomsbury, and Farringdon.


CEO Edward Griffin said: “The growth that we have seen over the past three months is the culmination of significant business decisions we have made throughout the pandemic to ensure we continue to service our current landlords and occupiers, and attract new businesses looking for attractive and unique workspaces in prime London locations.”


“Last year, we received a record number of enquiries from SMEs who still see the value of having a London presence for their business and desire attractive workspaces for their clients and employees to enjoy.


“We retained circa seventy percent occupancy during the Covid lockdowns through the provision of short-term agreements, and this has increased to above ninety-five percent across all our nineteen office locations as SMEs benefit from a growing flex market.


WorkPad is launching three new business lines to benefit both occupiers and landlords, which has been made possible by increasing its staff headcount by 60 percent.


For clients looking to move away from the traditional office fit-out, WorkPad will be launching its new Design and Build service, through which the office provider will co-ordinate the whole fit-out and refurbishment process from start to finish with a dedicated project manager and interior design team.


WorkPad will also be expanding its portfolio and asset management arm for landlords through conventional leasing, managed workspace, or serviced workspace,


Edward concluded: “We have been working on these expansion plans for some time and they will ensure we maintain our commitment of providing tailored, high-quality services to our occupiers and landlord clients, such as Grosvenor, The Bedford Estates and Shaftesbury.”


Bdaily (Andrew Carter) - https://bdaily.co.uk/articles/2022/03/03/london-office-space-provider-set-to-grow-as-new-services-launch

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TOG and Fora reveal merger


The Office Group (TOG) and Fora have agreed a merger with the aim of becoming the premier flexible workspace company in the UK and Europe.


While the financial details of the deal have not been disclosed, the combined group will comprise 72 premier locations totalling 3.1m sq ft across London, Cambridge, Oxford, Reading, Bristol, Leeds, Berlin, Frankfurt, and Hamburg.


The enlarged group also has plans to expand into other European cities.


TOG co-founder Olly Olsen will become executive chairman, Fora co-founder Enrico Sanna will be chief executive, while TOG’s Charlie Green will become president. Katrina Larkin will be chief environment, social and governance officer.


Current TOG and Fora tenants include bp, GSK, Ocado, AMC, Adobe, British Fashion Council, Tortoise Media, among many others.


Olsen said: “The strong strategic and cultural fit between our two businesses and the supportive market dynamics, as more businesses embrace flexible working, make this merger an exciting proposition.


“We have seen a clear and growing need from corporates for better quality environments, with great amenities, beautiful design and that are easily accessible. The combination of our businesses would ensure that we are best placed to meet this growth opportunity in both the UK and Europe, offering existing and potential members even greater choice.”


Sanna added: “The combined portfolio of TOG and Fora will meet this need and evolving expectations, offering high quality and flexible locations that are design-led, with a range of services and amenities that are conducive to enhanced employee and business performance.”


Property Week (David Parsley) - https://www.propertyweek.com/finance/tog-and-fora-reveal-merger/5119395.article

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IWG merges digital assets with The Instant Group


IWG announced the merger of its digital assets with The Instant Group with a view to listing the business in the next two years.


Posting improved annual results, the flexible workspace provider said it would invest £270m net cash to buy shares from selling owners and provide growth capital with Instant Group management contributing £50m.


IWG said the deal would form a leading fully integrated workspace platform. Instant Group, which is not publicly traded, operates in 18 countries including in Europe the Americas and Asia.


Instant's management team will run the business and the merged group will probably be spun out in a US or UK listing by the end of 2023, IWG said. The business will offer virtual offices, meeting rooms, flexible workspace and managed offices.


IWG shares rose 12.6% to 261.70p at 08:36 GMT.


IWG Chief Executive Mark Dixon said: "It's a fantastic investment behind a world-class management team, positioning IWG to be a market leader in the digital-led future of workplace platforms. This creates a clear path for value creation and will harness the next generation of digital-native workers."


IWG reported a pretax loss from continuing operations of £259.4m for the year to the end of December compared with a £613.3m loss a year earlier as system-wide revenue dropped 4.2% at constant currency to £2.5bn. The company said it had a strong end to 2021 and excellent momentum in the first quarter of the current year.


Sharecast.com - https://www.sharecast.com/news/news-and-announcements/iwg-merges-digital-assets-with-the-instant-group--9355298.html

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10 Of The Best UK Co-Working Spaces For Out Of Office Days


While seasoned freelancers may be longtime residents of their local co-working haunt, for many of us, the post-pandemic working life is offering a bold new frontier in our careers. Virtually all Covid-19 restrictions in the UK are now a thing of the past, but living through Coronavirus pandemic has shown us that it's entirely possible for many works to carry out business outside of traditional office environments. As many of us adapt to our newly-vaccinated lives, hybrid working is one change we're taking forward with us into 2022.


Hybrid working models, whereby time is divided between the office and home, are now commonplace where as once you'd likely have been expected to show your face at your business HQ every day. Similarly, there's been an increase in fully remote vacancies, with research showing roles for these positions are increasing at four times the rate of the UK's general job market. It would seem then that workers and companies alike are desiring the freedom to choose where they and their employees are setting up shop for the week.


However, for all the perks a WFH lifestyle brings (later morning alarms, more time for the gym and far fewer sad pre-packaged lunchtime sarnies), we really are social creatures at heart and those water cooler chats just can't be replicated over Zoom, which is why co-working spaces have never been more vital.


These communal office areas have seen a real boom in popularity since the 'stay home' order lifted. They can typically be booked on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, with private offices available for an additional fee. And if you feel most inspired in beautiful environments, you're in luck as there are several incredibly new co-working spaces we're obsessed with.


Far from your overly-cluttered dining room or drab office with those weird fuzzy carpets, many co-working spaces are now a real treat for the senses. Expect thoughtfully-designed, artful spaces full of light, space, colour and texture. It's not unusual for pets to be allowed, too.


Many of the workspace companies featured below are expanding, citing the creation of connection and community spirit as a main focus for 2022 and beyond. Networking opportunities, socials, industry talks and wellness facilities are also commonplace in these spaces, so you can grow professionally, holistically and socially, too. All of a sudden, achieving a better work/life balance doesn't sound so tricky after all.


Here are 10 of the most beautiful and functional co-working spaces throughout London and the rest of the UK, for freelancers, flexi-workers and those that are totally over WFH.


1. Neighbourhood Works, London


We loved the day we spent tucked away at 24-hour co-working space Neighbourhood Works in East London. Part of the Spacemade group, the office has been thoughtfully designed to reflect the area's arty reputation as a hub for creatives. The interiors are an eclectic mix of colour and texture – think bold, contrasting hues, fringed lamps and 1970s-style rugs – plus plenty of leafy pot plants and bespoke pieces by local artists.


We headed down on Valentine's Day 2022 and, in the afternoon, we were treated to a delicious selection of themed cupcakes to tuck into, along with unlimited tea and coffee.


Community spirit is a real focus here. Each member is given a voucher to spend with Beam; a platform that crowdfunds employment training for the homeless. The space also hosts plenty of community events for members and, sometimes, the general public. Expect guest talks, workshops and networking events from company founders, industry experts, and fellow members, among other fun stuff.


As for actually getting down to work, there are various bookable meeting rooms, phone booths, communal tables and cosy corners – we had a thoroughly productive day.


2. Fora, London


If you want to walk into work every morning and feel inspired, book a desk at one of Fora's stunning 13 co-working houses (with two more opening later this year). Each office has been painstakingly designed to honour the heritage of the existing building, with its own unique decor scheme, while still retaining Fora's unmistakeable aesthetic.


There's a host of gym and other wellness facilities at every space: each has a gym with cardio machines, weights bench, dumbbells, tension bands, a Swiss ball, Yoga mats and blocks. Several have additional gear including TRX suspension training, squat racks, a double cable machine and even a ski trainer. You can also book PT sessions, take part in a group exercise class or join the regular pilates, yoga or barre sessions hosted in select locations (your membership allows you to join these even if they're not at your regular spot).


Kitchens are fully stocked with tea, coffee and the odd treat. As for our favourite little touch? Some locations, like Wells Mews in Fitzrovia, have their own vertical salad gardens that can be periodically harvested by members to put in their lunches or take home.


3. Distil Co-Working, Bristol


Bristol-based freelancers: we think you'll struggle to find a co-working spot better positioned to take advantage of all the city has to offer than Distil, located right in the centre of the old town. Foodies especially should be tempted – this joint opens out right onto St Nicholas Market, with its wealth of street food stalls to work your way through every Tuesday and Friday.


As for the space itself, pale wood desks, open shelving, an abundance of plants and soothing sage green accents give it a breezy, Scandi feel – and there's a bar, too, ready for post-work networking with your new deskmates.


All tariffs come with unlimited free tea, coffee, fruit and a bar allowance for when you fancy something stronger come 17:30. If you prefer curling up on the sofa to work (some WFH habits die hard), the bar also has hot-desking facilities, priced at just £10 per day or £80 a month.


But the best bit has to be the open fire that roars all day during the chillier seasons; certainly a good sweetener for when winter hits and it becomes tougher to head out the door in the morning. Knowing that you'll get to snuggle up in a cosy chair by a crackling log burner makes the prospect of getting out of bed much more palatable.


4. Colony Astley, Manchester


It's true that Manchester-based co-working group, Colony, lacks a robust community events programme like some of the others on this list. However, what it lacks in extra-curricular offerings, it make up for with its truly beautiful aesthetic.


Walk through any of the doors in its four city centre locations and you'll be greeted with real private members club vibe; a clever mix of colour, texture and quality finishes that we could certainly get used to settling down to work in every day.


Saying that, there is a discount card available for members, offering perks at a range of local businesses – extended happy hours, discounted gym memberships and even 15% off at a local engagement ring shop, too.


5. AndCo, London


This is a great idea: AndCo is essentially the Airbnb of workspaces. Sign up to its £20 a month service and you'll get access to over 400 places to set up shop throughout London through its handy app. This is much cheaper than a typical co-working space desk and it gives you an excuse to check off more new haunts from your list to try.


As well as cosy cafes and hotel bars, there are a wealth of pubs and restaurants, perfect for lunch meetings with clients, where you can write up your notes without having to head off immediately.


When we gave it a go, finding, booking and cancelling a slot couldn't be easier and some venues offer a discount on food and drink while you're in residence. There are lots of spots outside of central London too, so you should find something close to home, even if you live out in the suburbs.


6. Platf9rm, Brighton


Platform 9 (or Platf9rm, as it's actually styled) nails the social side of creating a truly collaborative co-working space – and an aesthetically pleasing one, at that. A thriving calendar of networking events, coffee mornings, yoga and socials – we're suitably intrigued by Tipsy Illustration Games – will ensure you're always sat next to a familiar face during the daily grind, despite not technically being colleagues. After two years of Covid restrictions, that's something we could all do with a bit more of.


There are two spaces, one in Brighton and one in Hove, but most of the events are held in the original central Brighton spot in the Tower Point block, five minutes from the station. An onsite kitchen/cafe, open every Thursday to Sunday, hosts its own roster of events, live music, comedy nights and talks, along with regular foodie pop-ups with local chef talent.


As for the workspace itself, there are plenty of desks, nooks and meeting rooms for you to book out, with a range of flexible tariffs depending on your needs. Free coffee, tea and refreshments from local Sussex suppliers is included, too. Hopefully we'll actually get some work done at some point.


7. Halkin, London


If you need a centrally-located base to hunker down and get some stuff done, try one of Halkin's eight spots throughout Mayfair and the City (they also have a space in Watford). Every office has a quiet office room to crack on with your daily tasks, plus bookable private meeting rooms and smartly outfitted breakout areas to dip into and take your calls.


Free tea and coffee is available at every location, which have been decked out to reflect the local area (we love the deep teals and golds in the decor in its Art Deco outpost in Southwark). We booked a desk at 13 Hanover Square in Oxford Circus, which is right next to the new Elizabeth line station. So, if you're looking for a spot and you live on this new route, this is one office block to consider.


8. Yonder, London


We've not seen anything like this before: Yonder in Walthamstow combines its 20 co-working desks with a wellness studio and a climbing centre. Creatives can hire a permanent spot in its workshop, where you can make friends with the other handy folks who've set up shop; a mix of furniture makers, set designers and carpenters to date.


Head over to the studio on your lunch break or after hours; there's a really interesting mix of yoga, parent and baby and holistic classes to choose from. A post-work sound bath at 17:30? Sounds lovely, frankly. As a bonus, if you need a quick screen break during the daily grind, you can sit and watch the climbers work hard scaling the walls instead.


At £260 a month for a permanent desk, this is one of the more affordable spots we've found for those looking for somewhere to work more frequently than once or twice a week. If you live in East London, it's worth a tour.


9. The Old Print Works, Birmingham


For Birmingham-based creatives, setting up shop at The Old Print Works will ensure a space to get on with your latest project while mingling with likeminded sorts and doing some good at the same time. This former industrial building has been run by charitable organisation Make It Sustainable since 2009. Its aim is to provide a spot for creatives and community-facing businesses to thrive, while running a program of events to celebrate local culture.


Workshops and studios are available for hire, where you'll be sharing space with an existing arty roster of dressmakers, pottery makers, photographers and more. If you just need a desk to crack on, the dedicated coworking hub, The Transfer, can be hired for just £75 a month full-time.


At lunch, you can tuck into tasty homemade fare from the on-site vegan/vegetarian cafe run by arts charity The Gap. Not sure if coworking is for you? Try one day free or your first week for just £5.


10. WeWork George Street, Edinburgh


No co-working space roundup would be complete without the inclusion of at least one spot from OG office share company, WeWork. Within the UK, the brand has outputs in Cambridge, London, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh – the latter of which we've featured here.


It has everything we've come to expect from a WeWork office: a solid professional events program, a fully-stocked kitchen, a variety of desks and common areas, plus a few non-standard extras. You can bring your dog to work with you, take 10 minutes to breastfeed privately in the mother's room, or decompress with a lunchtime meditation in the wellness room.


Really, though, the main draw with WeWork is the sheer scale of its operations. With over 800 locations worldwide, true digital natives should consider signing up for an all access pass. This gives you the green light to set up at any of its spaces across the globe – which means it's time to dig out your passport!


Elle (Charley Ward) - https://www.elle.com/uk/life-and-culture/g38973419/coworking-spaces/

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London office space: Canary Wharf makes a comeback


It has become conventional wisdom that the pandemic is bad news for the commercial property sector. The shift to working from home will be partly permanent with people spending only two, three or four days a week in the office. Offices will need to be reconfigured to allow for desk-sharing, an increased number of meeting rooms and improved amenities to make working there more attractive, but overall demand will still be lower. 


The principal victim of the downsizing of space requirements will be the owners of large office spaces into which nobody will be downsizing. The most obvious of these is Canary Wharf, a development based on office spaces of half a million to one million square feet. Perhaps Canary Wharf could even become a white elephant as competition from other modern developments siphons away demand and empty offices put off new tenants.


If this is what investors believe, it is nonsense. Tenants are moving in, not out. Societe Generale arrived in 2020 and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development EBRD will do so this year, “plus half a dozen smaller tenants in the last year”, according to Howard Dawber, the managing director of strategy at Canary Wharf Group (CWG). US banking giant Citi is spending £100m revamping the 200-metre tower it bought as its Europe, Middle East and Africa headquarters in 2019 for £1.2bn. Moreover, CWG is adding five million square feet of new space to its existing 21 million. This is mostly in smaller buildings with “state-of-the-art” office space of 100,000 to 200,000 square feet, competing with the More London development near Tower Bridge. This appeals to smaller occupiers, including specialised buildings for the tech and life-sciences sectors.


In addition, Wood Wharf has four blocks of residential flats, both for sale – “selling well” – and rental. So much for the view that everyone wanted to move out of central London. This is part of the diversification of Canary Wharf, which initially focused on the financial sector but is now more broadly spread. Retail and destination leisure space has been expanded catering not just for the 100,000 who work there, but also the 180,000 who live within walking distance.


Customers are coming back


“We have the second-highest footfall of any shopping centre in London and trading is almost back to pre-pandemic levels. Food and beverage outlets, now a major attraction to Canary Wharf in their own right, are even beating the 2019 numbers,” says Dawber. Rumours of the demise of London’s shops and restaurants have also been exaggerated. Many have closed down, but new tenants have moved in to take their place, perhaps drawn in by lower rents.


The switch to cashless trading has been a bonanza for bars, sandwich shops, bakers and other high-volume retailers, increasing service efficiency, reducing the tedious and time-consuming tasks of till reconciliation and the banking of takings. This reduces both till shortfalls and staff requirements. Online shopping has its limitations and may even have reached maturity as a share of spending ,while take-away or home-delivered food can never compete with the middle- or upper-market restaurant experience.


CWG, now owned half by the Qataris and half by the Canadian-listed Brookfield Asset Management, has also moved outside its core area, in recent years developing the “Walkie-Talkie” building in the City and the old Shell headquarters, once voted London’s ugliest building, on the South Bank.


Why is Canary Wharf doing so well? “We went into the pandemic with a shortage of high-quality office space in London,” says Dawber. “The last two years will have brought speculative development to a halt while underlying demand for good space is strong.” It looks likely that the economic data, which shows GDP having recovered to pre-pandemic levels and record employment, is still understating the strength of the London and maybe the whole UK economy.


Canary Wharf can only be boosted by the imminent opening of the cross-London Elizabeth line, which will reduce the travel time to Heathrow to just 38 minutes. The government wanted CWG to contribute £1bn to the cost of a station originally priced at £1.2bn. The group offered to take on all the risk of building the station in return for contributing just £150m towards a fixed-price contract. The station was completed on time and on budget for a cost of £550m. The government saved over £750m and CWG’s contribution will have been offset by the value of the 120,000 square feet of retail space built above it.


Not all of London’s office space is prospering. Rents on small, poorly located, outdated tertiary office space have fallen. The demand is for new or refurbished, flexible space that is well located and has good amenities. Demand for tertiary space will pick up as central London returns to normal, but this is not an investable proposition. Unfortunately, CWG is not listed and Brookfield (up 140% in five years) gives only a very diluted exposure. However, if Canary Wharf is doing well, so is all central London property, to the benefit of Great Portland Estates and Derwent London.


Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Money Week (Max King) - https://moneyweek.com/investments/property/604486/london-office-space-canary-wharf-makes-a-comeback


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The central London office property market is bouncing back to pre-pandemic levels


After two years of work from home mandates, the end of 2021 finally saw a strong rebound for Central London office property as people started to return to the workplace. Monthly take-up surpassed pre-pandemic levels for the first time in December 2021, and early figures from January show that trend continuing — proving the resilience of the corporate property market. Take up will likely continue to improve now that plans to drop all remaining Covid restrictions in England have been confirmed.


Analysis by Savills found that in December, monthly Central London office take up rose by 32 per cent month on month to reach 1.39 million square feet. Overall, 2021 saw a take up of 9 million square feet — still 21 per cent lower than in 2019, but almost double 2020’s take up. In January, early estimates suggest take up of at least 536,000 square feet, a number likely to be revised afterwards as the last deals are documented, 12 per cent high than in January 2019.


‘People are back at work, and they’re back in numbers,’ Philip Pearce, head of Central London Offices at Savills, said. ‘And it’s very noticeable in the city how it’s beginning to feel a lot more like normal, or the old normal.’


The influx of people returning to the office has combined with demand for higher quality office space, so competition is steep. And while many companies have significantly grown their workforce over the past two years, new building development has been slowed, creating a tight supply across the city.


Demand has been rising strongly since spring 2021, but December was the largest monthly take up since July 2019.


There is strong demand across the city, but in many areas, supply is governing decision-making, and forcing companies to look beyond their usual region. Around 45 per cent of take up in the second half of 2021 in the City Core Corporation area and its fringe, slightly lower than in the same period in 2019. Meanwhile other regions have seen significant growth: Kensington and King’s Cross have seen take up increase more than ten-fold compared to 2019, while Paddington has seen take up triple.


And this uptick in demand is coming alongside higher standards when it comes to the quality of the property.  In 2019 and 2020, 79 per cent of central London office take up was of Grade A quality. In 2021, the amount of Grade A office take up doubled year on year, accounting for nine-tenths of office take up.


This means companies are prioritising not just the location of their office space, but also the quality of the space to make sure it is conducive with employee productivity and wellbeing, and the building’s energy efficiency and sustainability credentials.


‘There’s a recognition amongst most occupiers that the return to nine to five, five days a week is probably never going to happen,’ Pearce added. ‘And therefore they know they’ve got to earn somebody’s commute.’


As the conversation around remote working and hybrid working has developed, companies have had to adapt their plans and policies — some more easily than others.


As the city began to reopen in late spring 2021, smaller office spaces made up a larger proportion of deals, as smaller companies had the flexibility to adapt their working policies with the quickly-changing health landscape.


But the past six months have seen a resurgence of large deals: both from larger companies committing to their hybrid working, and from companies that had downsized, and now look to reverse that decision, and in Q4, eight per cent of deals were for over 50,000 square feet.


Spear's (Katharine Swindells) - https://spearswms.com/office-london-return/

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Fora announces new Mayfair building and pre-let to global investment management firm


Fora has signed on 41,100 sq ft at 20 Grosvenor Street, London W1, and pre-let the entire building to a global investment management firm, Millennium.


Comprising 39,700 sq ft of best-in-class offices and 1,400 sq ft of retail space, 20 Grosvenor Street and 19 Brook’s Mews is a landmark Mayfair building, designed by award-winning architect Flanagan Lawrence and delivered by Grosvenor in 2014. Fora has partnered with Millennium to design and deliver a flexible workspace solution tailored to their precise business requirements, in their own private premises. Fora will manage the building which will deliver in Q4 2022.


Mayfair is recognised as the prime address in London for Private Equity Firms, Wealth Managers and Hedge Funds. A number of major international financial occupiers have headquarters here including Blackstone, KKR and Bain Capital. This significant deal underlines Fora’s commitment to its ambitious growth plans and the central London market.


RX London represented Fora, and CBRE represented the investment management firm in this deal.


Enrico Sanna, co-founder and CEO of Fora said: “We are excited to expand Fora’s portfolio into Mayfair, an important submarket, synonymous with quality and excellence. We look forward to opening this new location, along with five others during the course of 2022.”


About Fora:


Tailored workspaces for forward thinkers, Fora is on an exciting journey to reimagine the working day. Our unique workspaces invite people and businesses to feel 'Wonderful at Work' through conscious design, a curated programme of events and a 360-degree wellness offering.


Since launching in Clerkenwell in 2017, the current Fora network consists of 14 locations across London – including Soho, Spitalfields and Borough – and Reading, with six new workspaces in the pipeline including Cambridge, Oxford and Oxford Street, growing to 20 by the end of 2022. Personalised service, dynamic spaces and enhanced technology have inspired organisations such as Sony and the British Fashion Council to make Fora their workspace home. Whether employed by large enterprises, small businesses, or start-ups, Fora Residents leverage the unique Fora experience to forge connections, feed curiosity, and ultimately feel Wonderful at Work. 


Fora Press Release - https://lnkd.in/eHFVJZhS

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Canary Wharf rolls out flexible offices after pandemic shakes up work habits


London landlord the Canary Wharf Group is planning to roll out a flexible office service for clients, as the city continues to adapt to the pandemic shakeup to work patterns.


The new service, called MadeFor, will be introduced at 40 Bank Street in Canary Wharf, but could grow to as much as 20 per cent of the group’s portfolio over the next few years, The Financial Times reported.


The firm has already snapped up US lender Citigroup as a client, which is taking 95,000 square feet of space on a temporary basis as it refurbishes its Canary Wharf office building.


Offices leased under the new MadeFor brand will be let on more flexible terms than normal leases and more closely replicate models used by flexible office companies like WeWork.


The move marks a major change of tack for the group, which owns most of Canary Wharf in East London, the home of some of the capitals major financial heavyweights.


Shobi Khan, the group’s chief executive said the move reflected an “evolution of the customer and how they’re thinking about their space”.


MadeFor offices can have “breakout space, collaboration space, anything the company wants”, including beer taps if the tenant requests them, Khan told the FT.


Canary Wharf Group also said it could also improve the emissions profile of its buildings by taking a more hands-on approach to operating them, which could tempt in big name financial firms that are gunning to hit net-zero targets.


City A.M. (Charlie Conchie) - https://www.cityam.com/canary-wharf-rolls-out-flexible-offices-after-pandemic-shakes-up-work-habits%EF%BF%BC/

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My office is cooler than yours — from Google to Facebook, London’s most enviable workplaces


Is your post-pandemic workplace even worth the commute if it doesn’t have a roof garden, gaming zone and an office dog to welcome you as you arrive at your (plant-filled) desk?


Apparently not, according to staff from London’s top firms. The great office comeback is well under way and companies have been working hard revamping their workplaces.


Think your office is cooler than the rest of London’s? Here’s your competition.


Working from home or homing from work?


After two years Slacking from our sofas, home comforts are a new office essential. Tech firm Cloud Nexus says it redesigned its office “to create the feeling of a home” with corner sofas, games consoles and a Lego zone. PR agency Emerge’s revamped Soho office features Instagrammable living room sofa areas, a farmhouse-style kitchen table, a ‘card wall’ stocked with cards and stamps and even a digital fireplace to maximise cosiness. CEO Emily Austen says she encourages the team to send at least one letter a week, eat lunch together every day and enjoy regular after-work drinks from the office bar.


Austen’s isn’t the only company using foodie treats to sweeten the deal of returning the office. Facebook reportedly offers free pick ‘n’ mix, Hackney creative workspace Eat Work Art has access to its own refill shop where staff can stock up with plastic-free products, and communications consultancy Woodrow is one of dozens of companies offering a free organic breakfast bar for employees each day of the week.


CEO Charlie Tarr personally serves his team a cooked breakfast every fortnight too boost the home-from-home feel.


Creature comforts


Office dogs might not be a new phenomenon for some (lucky) Londoners, but insiders say workplace pooches are on the rise. WeWork says the number of furry friends in its London outposts has rocketed since the pandemic.


Luxe Belgravia coworking space 25EP offers dogs a brand new bed and bowl when their owner signs up as a member, with a canine-friendly drinks trolley of water and treats during the working day, while consumer research firm Attest - voted last year’s most dog-friendly workplace - has so many office dogs at its east London office it now has luxury dog beds, dog-treat Advent calendars, an in-house ‘dogtabase’ on its intranet featuring each dog’s picture and behaviour.


Workplace wellness 2.0


Google’s original design for its 11-storey ‘landscraper’ in King’s Cross included a giant climbing wall and a bike ramp running the height of the building so employees could climb or cycle to their desks. These particular plans have now been scrapped - presumably there was little uptake for abseiling home from work - but wellness is still front and centre for the tech giant’s new London campus. The building will reportedly be home to an indoor basketball court, 25-metre swimming pool, massage rooms and 200-metre rooftop running track.


Bosses across the capital say wellness perks such as these this have been crucial to luring workers back to the office. Austen says she installed a meditation sofa and Peloton bike in Emerge’s new offices, Stakester CEO Tom Fairey offers free boxing classes to help staff destress, and insurance firm Domestic & General reportedly handed out Patch Plants as welcome-back-to-the-office gifts.


The firm says it’s invested thousands of pieces of permanent foliage around its workspace and bosses across the capital say plants have been a big factor in boosting workplace wellbeing post-pandemic.


Mindful Chef’s Wandsworth office has a “vertical farm” growing 98 kinds of edible plants from rainbow chard to curly kale, dairy company Oatly’s plant-filled Farringdon HQ was created by designers Kitt to have a “jungle” feel for boosting mental health, while co-working space Fora’s Fitzrovia outpost, Wells Mews, opened last month featuring a mindfulness room, indoor garden and built-in hydroponic towers for staff to pick their own fresh herbs to eat with lunch or take home for dinner.


Bold is better


Designers across the capital say the days of office minimalism are over - now, bosses are looking for workplaces with a bit of personality. Apple’s shiny new six-floor campus at Battersea Power Station is expected to feature lifts in the shape of an iPhone.


Facebook’s meeting rooms are reportedly named after Harry Potter characters, Game of Thrones sites and iconic London landmarks, with dramatic artwork hanging around the building.


Design agency Brinkworth recently revamped media company Defected Records’ Shoreditch office with disco balls, neon lights and an exclusive mural by artist Haris Nukem, while creative agency St Luke’s recently commissioned local artist Lee Baker to cover the walls of its Covent Garden HQ with a bold floral mural.


Let’s take this outside


A full day without leaving the building? No thanks. For London’s office architects, fresh air is hot right now - not just to reduce the spread of Covid but for wellbeing reasons.


Design studio MoreySmith says outdoor terraces are one of the most in-demand features among its clients including ASOS, Dunhill and CBRE, and Google’s new King’s Cross campus will include a landscaped roof garden with a rainwater irrigation system. Developers hope it’ll not only provide a space for Googlers to spend their downtime, but a habitat for bats and birds.


But terraces and roof gardens aren’t just for downtime. Workers at Borough coworking site The Ministry regularly take meetings on its luxury sun terrace, Oatly staff say their rooftop meeting “pod” is great for collaboration, and Woodrow staff say hosting several alfresco meetings a week on its leafy roof terrace in Old Street has boosted productivity and decision-making post-pandemic, even in winter. “I’ve noticed that people are more open to speaking their mind and contributing to the meeting,” says Tarr.


Smart spaces


Offices might be looking prettier but behind the scenes, they’re going high-tech. Bloomberg’s ultra-sustainable European HQ in the City features sensors that adjusts the natural airflow through the building according to staffing levels while The Hickman’s office space in Whitechapel even has its own app.


The building’s in-house smartphone platform, sesame, offers features including an online concierge service, contactless access control, a ‘Social Wall’ for communicating with colleagues, and news updates for seeing what’s going on in real-time near to the office.


Evening Standard (Katie Strick) - https://www.standard.co.uk/escapist/office-cool-london-best-workplaces-google-facebook-b982143.html

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