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Future-of-office debate moves on to real examination of needs

One thing that the pandemic has forced into the open is the debate about what people actually use office space for. It has precipitated an examination of why people use office space, how much they need and when they need it.

“The pandemic brought people suddenly into their homes and precluded them from office space,” said Alastair Moss, head of real estate, at London law firm Memery Crystal. “So we thought it was right to ask, ‘what is office space doing?’”

Memery Crystal has worked with the British Council for Offices on a recent briefing note, The Future of the Office. Talking to Real Asset Media’s Richard Betts, Moss explained that the idea that “the office is dead” was quashed early during the pandemic as people tired of constant Teams and Zoom calls. But, moving forward, he said we needed to examine what part in the economy real estate plays, what does occupation really mean and how should it be paid for.

“What we’re seeing amongst our clients – both occupiers and investors – is that they want to make space work for people.”

There are legal and regulatory implications in a change of approach to work and offices too. “From a real estate and particularly from an employment perspective, there are really numerous things to pick up on,” Moss said.

“Now we’ve got this kind of breaking free, as far as we see it, of how people look at space and how they occupy it and, of course, law and regulation is a key part of that.”

Click on the video above to watch the full interview or listen to the podcast below.

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