Flexible space and smart tech to grow this year, while occupiers decide on Brexit

Flexi-space and Smart tech to grow this year, while occupiers decide on BrexitThe proportion of flexible space within occupier portfolios will continue to increase in 2018; a growing adoption of technology will redefine buildings, workplaces and portfolios; and it will be a year of decision for many businesses regarding Brexit. These are among the ‘UK Property Predictions 2018’ report from JLL which covers a range of different topics, with a particular focus on UK corporate occupiers. The report claims that traditional static portfolio concepts are being redesigned to incorporate new formats of space, co-working and a more fluid and diverse range of space options that support creativity, innovation and collaboration. A greater number of large organisations will explore flex space and co-working in 2018 for multiple objectives ranging from servicing a mobile workforce, supporting business development, to delivering swing space or driving innovation. Digital technology continues to redefine real estate and 2018 will see further acceleration in this area. The adoption of smart building technologies will continue to grow as leading-edge organisations focus on a seamless integration of internet of things technologies throughout their buildings.

According to Tom Carroll, Head of EMEA and UK Corporate Research, “JLL’s Human experience research showed that UK employees are increasingly mobile both within and outside the office and the rise of the flexible office market is a natural response to a structural change in the way people are working.”

He adds: “Following 18 months of contingency and scenario planning, 2018 will be the year that companies decide whether to enact their plans. Importantly, as the CBI has vociferously indicated, without greater clarity for business on the nature of any transitional agreement some businesses will be forced to enact contingency plans in 2018.”

Jon Neale, UK Head of Research predicts that, “Brexit confusion will be the main theme of 2017. Negotiations will meet stumbling block after stumbling block; there will be walkouts, rumours and plenty of averse briefings; ‘almost certainly’ the mood music will get worse before it gets better. But with the EU, “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” and it still seems likely that a deal will emerge late in 2018 or early in 2019 – even if it only covers transition.

“While this is likely to mean – much to the annoyance of many Brexiteers – a continuation of the status quo for two or three years, it will come as a (temporary) relief to many in property. But it also means that the fog will remain impenetrable for most of the year ahead, with many hard choices postponed.”