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Scottish office market – Outlook and opportunities for 2021 – Savills

Scottish office market – Outlook and opportunities for 2021 

Presented by Savills. 18th February 2021.

NovaLoca attended the Scottish office market webinar hosted by Nick Penny whose panelists included David Cobban of Savills Glasgow and Mike Irvine of Savills Edinburgh, who both have current subscriptions with NovaLoca, as well as Caroline Pontifax Director of Workplace Experience  and Dan Smith of Savills Aberdeen. 

The webinar discussion included emerging themes in the Scottish office market where flexibility and sustainability came to the forefront. 

Occupiers are currently reviewing the amount of space they need. They are considering right sizing which was already beginning to happen in Scotland and has been accelerated by the pandemic. This review could take the form of relocation to less expensive space or consolidation with other companies as staff may no longer be in the office on a full time basis. The panel pointed out having staff attend the office on a part time basis doesn’t necessarily mean less space is needed. 

Employers are acknowledging that they need to give staff a reason to want to come into the office, especially younger staff. They are facing the challenge of making long term decisions about short term problems. Quality and flexibility is a major consideration. There is therefore an increase in demand for Grade A space for which employers do seem to be prepared to pay for. Grade A availability in Scotland is currently lower than in the rest of the UK and rent increases could follow as demand grows. 

Caroline Pontifax gave a presentation on changes in workplace design that are occurring as occupiers are beginning to only take space they need. The Pandemic has accelerated requirements for better flexible design. She reiterated the fact that employee experience is important. Workplaces will become a place to exchange ideas rather than the 9 to 5 of old and need to offer quality services including lounges, fitness centres, showers, terraces and cycle facilities, as wellness is another key trend. The panel discussed how difficult it is to design for short term leases and keep sustainability at forefront.

A question was asked if the panel thought that business parks would see companies relocating to these. The overall thought was that it is too early to say if they will see an increase in demand. They would need to be offering all of the facilities already discussed and it was pointed out that they are not sustainable as staff need to drive to them.

Overall the office market saw higher demand in Scotland for 2020 than the rest of the UK with an economic bounce back expected by the middle of next year. 

Take a look at the commercial properties listed on NovaLoca by Savills in Scotland here.

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