5 ways to utilize empty office spaces
Making the most of office spaces when demand is shifting.
In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, working practices have changed. Remote and flexible working is much more common than it was before 2020, and as a result there is reduced demand for office spaces. However, while the demand may have waned, the number of offices available for lease or for purchase has not, leaving many landlords and developers wondering how to make them more useful.
This article is exploring five ways in which empty office spaces can be put to better use.
1. TURN THEM TO DISTRIBUTION SPACES
Currently, the demand for warehouses, storage, and distribution units is far outweighing the supply due to changed consumer behaviors. There has been a huge shift towards e-commerce and online consumption, which means that these units are essential commodities that companies are competing to get their hands on.
Ground floor and open-plan office spaces would be ideal candidates for conversion into distribution spaces; if the office space is unfurnished, all that would be required is a degree of refitting and the space would be ready to go.
Plus, companies are particularly interested in distribution spaces in or near to city centers in order to fulfill customer orders faster, and large-scale offices (those that would be ideal for this proposal) are typically found in just these locations.
2. SWITCH FROM SINGLE-COMPANY TO CO-WORKING
Traditionally, commercial office spaces have been set up for single companies, with businesses separated from one another across floors. In today’s world of hybrid working, this is no longer the most space-efficient model to employ.
By switching spaces from a traditional single-company model to a more inclusive and more flexible, co-working model, greater use can be gained from one space. Companies can rent rooms or a handful of desks for regular use, while others may prefer to hot-desk as and when they need.
This way, developers and landlords don’t need to lose income due to a lack of company interest, as the space is being maximized by a greater number of tenants.
3. CONVERT THEM INTO EVENT VENUES
While the world of office working may not have returned to its pre-pandemic ways, the events industry is back in full swing, recovering from the last two years. From private parties to corporate gatherings, events are in high demand and suitable spaces are at a premium. Converting offices into event venues makes complete sense; the buildings are often centrally located, they boast plenty of space for guests, and they typically have kitchens in-built into their layout, which makes catering events that much easier.
The beauty of offices is that they are somewhat of a blank canvas, which makes them an ideal space for hosting events, as they can be made truly unique for any event that may be hosted. Whether it’s a floor in an office block, or the entire block itself, this is a great way to maximize the available space.
4. POP-UP OPPORTUNITIES
Pop-ups are a great way for newer brands to get their name out there. They offer the sales opportunities of having a dedicated store, with significantly less risk due to their short-lived nature. And, for the hosts of the pop-ups, there is a high-turnover of companies renting the space, making for a potentially lucrative endeavor.
5. CREATE STUDIO SPACES
Digital content is everywhere nowadays, so it makes sense that there is a growing demand for studio spaces that can be used to create this content. Empty office blocks are prime real-estate suited perfectly for a transformation from corporate offices to studio spaces.
For example, conference rooms could become photography studios, private meeting suites could transform into podcast suites, and the places where desks once sat could operate as spaces for marathon writing sessions.
In the same way that offices would work so well for events, their being a blank canvas makes them perfect for pop-up stores. Companies can come in and really make the space their own, to create a bespoke feel for their pop-up.
This is just a handful of suggestions for how empty office spaces can be utilized in today’s working culture, but there are countless more out there. The main take-away here is that offices can be incredibly versatile and malleable, all that’s required is a little imagination to create an entirely new space.
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