Thursday 3 June 2021 7:34 am

UK firms set to slash office space in pivot to hybrid work

UK firms appear ready to take the leap to hybrid working despite being unconvinced by the productivity benefits, new research today suggests.

Data from PwC shows that major employers are set to reduce their office portfolio by up to 9m square feet, equivalent to 14 Walkie Talkie buildings, due to the pandemic.

Of the 258 largest UK firms surveyed, half said that they were planning to reduce their office space, with a third of the total saying they will cut it by more than 30 per cent.

The figures come as companies continue their preparations for getting employees back into their workplaces in greater numbers after over a year of working from home.

The current government guidance on working from home is due to expire by the end of June, along with the lifting of all other coronavirus restrictions.

But today’s data is yet more evidence that many firms will not be returning to pre-pandemic life and will instead adopt hybrid working styles instead.

Angus Johnson, UK Real Estate Leader at PwC UK, said: “The figures couldn’t be more clear, the shift to hybrid working, with part of your time at home and part in the office, is pretty much embedded into the working culture of many organisations.

“So much so that a significant proportion of the businesses we spoke to are planning to reduce their office portfolio, which could lead to up to nine million square feet of vacant space.”

Only 10 per cent of the firms questioned said that they expected the level of employees working from the office will return to pre-pandemic levels.

Around half the senior executives surveyed believe employees will continue to work virtually two to three days a week, PwC added.