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Property expert warns London is ‘at risk’ of running out of flexible office space by the end of 2021

Soaring demand for flexible office space in London, due to the effects of the pandemic, means it it set to run out by the end of the year, according to property experts.

Peter Dudley, Managing Director of O&A Property Consultants, which specialises in sourcing London offices and other workspaces for its clients, has issued a stark warning as the demand for flexible office space climbs to unprecedented levels, as opposed to that for conventional leases.

Dudley says the effects of Covid have meant that there is much more demand than before the pandemic for flexible office space, as bosses grapple with the critical business decision of how to provide workspace for their employees in uncertain times, and are concerned with the prospect of unexpected lockdowns saddling them with empty expensive London real estate. This increased demand is pushing the prices of flexible space up, according to Dudley, and will mean that the average cost of a London desk is set to rise by a staggering 40 per cent, from around £500 per desk per month to £700 per desk per month.

Dudley stated: “We knew that with hybrid working becoming more popular, and employees preferring more of a balance between working from the office and working from home, flexible workspaces would be more in demand. But it is staggering how many clients we are conversing with on a daily basis who are leaving conventional leases and opting for a more flexible solution for their workforce,” says Dudley. “Based on the current levels of enquiries we’re receiving I would estimate that by quarter 4 of 2021 we will have a huge issue with the lack of available space across flexible workspace offices.”

Dudley says that they always expected an uplift in the demand for flexible space, “but nothing of this magnitude. Pricing has already exceeded pre-Covid levels…… and we’re still pretty much in lockdown!”

O&A Property Consultants says that there is a “very real risk” of London running out of this sort of space, as businesses clamber to replace their conventional leases with the more flexible options. Dudley says his staff are fielding so many enquiries for flexible office space that he “can see no evidence of people continuing to work completely from home in the future”.

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