The number of office jobs has outstripped the rise in office space, sparking a ‘race for space’ says new research.


Workspace Futures: The changing dynamics of office locations, a report by Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners (NLP), shows that between 2000 and 2012, the number of office jobs rose in England and Wales by 21 per cent, yet the stock of office space increased by less at 17 per cent.

 This, says the report, implies that those using the space are “making increasingly efficient use of office space, both in terms of new additional space as well as existing space”.

 At a regional level, in Manchester for example, the report shows that the growth of office jobs was double the increase in office floor space. In London, Liverpool and Leeds the number of office jobs increased by a third more than floor space.

 Ciaran Gunne-Jones, economics director at NLP, said: “Just a few years ago some were saying the traditional office would become a relic of the past with new technology fuelling a growth in remote working. But what we are seeing now is a major shift in the degree of flexibility and varying types of work spaces that cater for a diverse range of 21st century businesses and organisations.”

 The research also highlights a shift to more city central locations, displaying office space growth primarily in finance, business services, technology, digital media and creative companies.

 Gunne-Jones said that creative workers tend to value having both dedicated desks combined with collaborative workspace.

 But despite the growth in office space, the report also proved that permitted development rights, which allow the conversion of office space to residential dwellings without having to make a planning application is “reducing the amount of available stock.”

 Gunne-Jones said: “The effects of permitted development rights have been mixed.

 “In some locations the measure is helping to repurpose obsolete office stock and, in time, may improve the viability of new office development. But in some higher-demand locations the loss of office stock is outpacing new supply with an ensuing race for space amongst occupiers.

 “Local authorities need to assess how this will impact upon plans to meet longer-term office space needs in their areas, particularly if the measure is extended further.”

 This story originally appeared in The Planner.