We have seen significant changes to business in the past few years. This has become known as the 4th Industrial Revolution and relates specifically to the use of technology and how it is affecting the way that we live our lives, consume things, and conduct our businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic has also had an impact. Whilst it has not necessarily significantly changed the path that we are following in terms of technology, it has certainly sped it up – especially in terms of our working habits.
All of this has had a drastic impact on the commercial property market, both right now and in how we are looking at the future of work. We can never be sure of what is coming in the future, but there are some workplace trends that we can confidently predict for the near future, and as we further embrace technology and learn to live with COVID-19, and this will also affect the nature of and demand for commercial property in the UK.
With this in mind, here are some of our predictions for commercial property trends in the second half of 2022.
Higher Quality Commercial Properties
The truth is that working from home is now a viable option for many people who work in hospitals. It seems that the ideal solution for both employers and employees is, where possible, a hybrid model – whereby employees work some of the time at home and some of the time in the office.
Many people will go into the office for specific tasks, with collaboration and interaction being the main ones. This means that workplaces will need to be conducive to collaborative working.
It also means that workplaces will be competing with home working – which automatically comes without the commute. We predict that this means that we are likely to see a higher quality of commercial property workspaces as businesses need to attract their employees into and make the office the place where they want to be.
It is important to remember that this also includes the commercial property being as sustainable as possible. Sustainability and green credentials are increasingly becoming more important to businesses, staff, and customers, and an eco-friendly building is a great place to start for a business to show how seriously they take their role in reducing their impact on the planet.
Whether they are retro-fitted older buildings or new buildings with better green credentials, sustainability is likely to be a key feature in the workplace of the future.
Incorporation of Technology
Regardless of the industry, technology is playing an increasingly important part in how a business operates. In terms of commercial property, this can mean incorporating video communications to meeting rooms, or employing a hot-desking model or somewhere that hybrid workers can arrive at work and instantly plug in.
Technology also has an important role in ensuring good employee welfare – enabling contactless to reduce the spread of infections such as COVID-19 and ensuring high-quality air filtering and temperature control for excellent air quality (and better production).
Industry, manufacturing, and distribution are also driven by technology. Robotics and automation now make manufacturing and distribution safer, faster, and more accurate, and commercial property that is intended for this use must be capable of enabling this technology.
Higher Demand for Warehouse and Storage Space
With the rise in online shopping and e-commerce, we are seeing a massive increase in demand for warehouse and storage space. This is not only because businesses are looking for larger areas to store their products, but also because these places need to be in logistically strategic positions.
Places that were once the home to out-of-town retail parks are now more likely to become storage facilities for everything from Amazon goods to food distribution.
We are also beginning to see trends for the re-purposing of existing buildings such as large offices into warehouses to rent if they are in the right location.
The more that we use the internet, the more space that is needed to store the huge amounts of data that is required. The cloud and remote working have made a significant difference to the amount of capacity that is needed for data, and the solution is to create enormous data warehouses. The main necessity of a data warehouse is that the square metre area needs to be very large, and this is why they are often located in places where land is less expensive per square metre – such as more remote locations.
Retail has changed very much over recent years. The high street has been threatened by the growth in popularity of out of town shopping centres and now the world of online shopping. What we are now seeing, however, is that the high street is merely changing. The public is still looking to leave the house and go shopping, but perhaps for different things. The public is not looking for a shopping experience – something that offers more than just buying something that could be done online.
We are also seeing more and more demand for hospitality properties, especially in local high streets since the rise of people working from home – or the local café.
In addition to this, we are seeing a rising number of town and city centres discouraging traffic by either pedestrianizing or putting in clean-air zones. This means that there might be increased footfall in town centres, boosting the popularity of retail and hospitality units within the centre.
The demand for commercial property is always changing, but with the 4th Industrial Revolution, we are noticing a more drastic change. As we come to terms with the changes that the pandemic has bought us along with the business benefits of more integrated technology, the workplace is likely to change significantly through 2022.
Regardless of what happens, you can rest assured that we will have a great selection of commercial property here at Boxpod, to match whatever your businesses needs are.
Looking to expand or grow your business? Find your perfect space on Boxpod.
Do you own or manage commercial space? Advertise it on Boxpod.