In the current lockdown world that we are living in, viewing office space in person is still very much on hold. Yet businesses still need to assess their workspace requirements and potential occupiers need to view office solutions, particularly when they are forward planning and also looking at re-entry into the workplace when the Covid-19 restrictions get lifted further.
With the requirement for social distancing likely to continue for the foreseeable future, many businesses are finding that they may actually require additional floorspace, in order to be COVID compliant and operate in a manner that minimises risks and keeps employees safe, whilst looking after their general health and well-being.
Virtual Tours can Offer the Perfect Viewing Solution
Just because you can’t physically get into offices doesn’t mean you can’t see them; the use of virtual tours is increasingly becoming the mainstay to show serviced offices to potential occupiers. Now, more than ever, decision-makers are working remotely from home and not able to travel to the location, but there is still the requirement for occupiers to be able to view offices.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, attitudes to virtual office viewing have changed considerably, with virtual tours gaining traction, as landlords and potential occupiers wish to be cautious and avoid any unnecessary risks.
When viewing a virtual tour, occupiers should be looking at the following:
- General surrounding area – regardless of whether the property is based in an urban or business park location, you want to be able to have a good look at the surrounding area and access the suitability for the health and well-being of your staff. Are there pleasant outdoor areas for staff to enjoy some much-needed fresh air during lunch and other breaks?
- Building external – what does the outside and entrance of the building look like? Does it portray the right image for your business? The virtual tour should give a close look at the building exterior.
- Shared areas – if you are looking for a serviced office or co-working space, it is important to view the shared areas and concierge services. What do the conference facilities look like?
- Nearby facilities – again important to consider for your staff once lockdown measures ease. Is there a good café onsite for staff to grab a coffee, snack or lunch? What about childcare? A nearby nursery can take a lot of pressure away from working parents, knowing that their young children are in a safe environment close to their place of work. Are there sporting and gym facilities nearby?
- Car parking and bike storage – are there generous car parking facilities available at the location for office workers? This, and bike storage facilities are increasingly important at the current time, as the majority of staff won’t want to risk travelling to work on crowded public transport. Are there electric car charging points?
- Office layout and good natural light – the virtual tour should give a good idea of the office layout, particularly when social distancing restrictions are still in place. It is also important to consider natural light and ambience, in order that decision-makers can assess its suitability for staff.
Other Factors to Consider
As well as taking a virtual tour, it is worthwhile asking probing questions of the property management team and letting agents about other factors, including superfast fibre broadband, security and heating. Office layout says a lot about the personality and culture of your business - a smart-looking office can help to attract and retain talent.
Virtual tours can really provide an excellent way to showcase an office and offer the perfect viewing solution for potential occupiers. They are now a necessity as long as the COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, but will continue to be important after we return to normal and will provide a vital part of the decision-making process when assessing and choosing office space.