CPRA Spectator

September Predictions for The Great UK Office Return

September 1, 2021

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic there has been major long-term reductions in occupancy levels of UK offices due to measures such as social distancing. Now that we finally seem to be out of lockdowns, office workers have started returning to their places of work and it is expected that September will see the biggest increases in office occupancies this year.

Looking at the figures taken from research conducted by CoStar, there is a positive trend of office occupancies increasing. CoStar identified an 8.2% increase in mid-May, followed by a 12.6% increase demonstrated by data collected at the end of August.

London office occupancies are the lowest of the major cities with just a 3.1% increase recorded over the four months between May and August. Manchester has seen the largest percentage increase in office occupation over the same period, with an increase of 6.9%.Birmingham is the strongest performing major city, with 13.10% occupancy recorded as of the 20th August 2021.

Further substantial increases in occupancy levels are predicted for the coming months, especially due to the relaxing of self-isolation measures in England. From the 16th of August, fully vaccinated people no longer need to self-isolate following contact with a Covid-19 positive person, meaning offices will no longer have to lockdown if one worker has Covid-19, providing the other workers are fully vaccinated.

However, despite the hopes for a sizeable office return, the current figures still suggest a reluctancy to risk exposure to the virus either in the workplace or on the commute, leading some to speculate that a remote working future is still likely.

If you are a landlord or tenant looking for sales and letting advice or considering a rent review or lease re-gear to help your business navigate the challenges of Covid-19, please feel free to contact the CPRA agency or lease advisory teams on 020 7770 8000 or email info@cpragroup.com.

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