Scotland has five Covid-19 protection levels. Last week the country moved beyond Level 0 and the Government has released guidance for businesses to welcome employees back to the workplace. However, many companies will be reconsidering their real estate before bringing staff back, whether that’s a redesign or relocation. All told, it’s going to be a busy time ahead for office moves in Scotland.

Why businesses will move offices

There have been numerous surveys in the last year that have tried to measure worker preferences for home working versus office-based working. The majority have found that employees would like to work two or three days at home and the rest in the office. Just last month a survey of nearly 200 Scotland-based financial services employees found that 70 percent want to work two days or less in the office.

This is why many businesses are expected to adopt a hybrid working model once workplaces do reopen. But the office still has an important role to play. Workers still want to spend part of their week in the office, and it offers a place to socialise, collaborate and have human connection.

It’s also worth remembering that not everyone has the ideal set-up to work from home. The recent CIPD Working Lives Scotland report found that 13 percent of home workers don’t have a suitable space, and 12 percent don’t have suitable broadband. For these people, the office is essential to being able to work effectively.

The upshot is that businesses need to strategise to provide the working environments that employees crave. With hybrid working, existing workplaces will rarely be at capacity and businesses will be paying for space they don’t need. The solution for many will be to move to a new location that better suits their new situation.

What to consider when moving offices

There’s plenty to consider and plan for before making a move. Some companies will have done this during the recent months; others have still been in survival mode so may not have had the chance. Whatever the situation, it’s essential to plan and strategise before making the decision to move.

Employee preferences is one of the main considerations and it may be advisable to base decisions on behaviour rather than surveys. Employees may state a working preference when asked, but you may find that changes once they are actually back in the workplace. You don’t want to move to a smaller office only to find that demand for desk space is higher than anticipated.

Cost is another important factor. The most recent Savills report into the state of the Scottish office market reported strong take-up in Q2 – Glasgow and Edinburgh both saw a near-80 percent increase from Q1, while rents have risen.

This is of course against a backdrop of very low take-up and falling rents, but highlights that moving office isn’t a guarantee of a lower rent. It’s also a competitive market so businesses will need to carefully research available spaces and find the one that suits their needs.

Support with moving offices

Most companies will enlist external support with an office move, from help with the physical move to a complete partnership that encompasses project management, communications, furniture management and storage solutions.

If you’re planning a move, assess your internal capabilities and find experts who can support where you have gaps. It may be tempting to delegate project management to a current employee, but unless it’s their full-time role this is not advised. They can get stretched too thin and the office move will suffer.

When looking for office move partners, do your research to find a company that is accredited, has a track record of success in Scotland and can embed seamlessly with internal teams.

We support businesses with office moves in Scotland and across the UK. Get in touch to discuss how we can support your business.

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