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Offices retain stronghold over staff

Offices retain stronghold over staff

Wednesday 12 October 2022

Offices retain stronghold over staff

Wednesday 12 October 2022


Despite many office based employees making a move to hybrid working, spending part of their week at home, there has not yet been any clear adverse impact on Guernsey's commercial property market with regards to offices in particular.

The 2021 Island Development Plan Annual Monitoring Report has explored the scope and size of offices across the island, along with residential, agricultural, tourism, storage and other property and land use types.

It has found that although a level of uncertainty was expected post Brexit and covid, that has not materialised yet.

mask PPE personal protective equipment

Pictured: While most offices closed during the lockdowns, those people who did have to go into work needed to wear masks and socially distance from colleagues.

It's acknowledged that both the pandemic and Brexit have made it difficult to predict future office requirements, but last year's data has suggested that "no adverse effect has yet to be seen on the quantity and quality of office space available outside of expected losses in small, tertiary accommodation and infrequent larger sites alongside gains in larger, primary grade floorspace."

During the 2020 and 2021 lockdowns, the vast majority of office based workforces were able to fulfil their role from home, with many employers now approving a work from home policy to enable staff to continue to reap the benefits they may have gained as a result of the enforced situation.

Despite many workers appearing to take up the opportunity for a hybrid role sharing their time across their office and their home, there remains a number of expected expansions in the amount of office space available in the island, suggesting employers will be looking to retain a central hub for staff long into the future.

The IDP Annual Monitoring Report states that where planning permission has been granted or where developments are underway, at locations including Admiral Park, La Rue Marguerite and Frances House, should all be seen in future reports as having bolstered the office stock in Guernsey.

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The DPA says that while "it is accepted that there is a need to provide a range of different size and quality of accommodation within the portfolio to meet differing business needs...at this time, it is considered that no major constraints exist that would greatly prohibit any required change."

Guernsey’s finance sector is the central pillar of Guernsey’s economy. This sector together with the supporting business services account for a quarter of all employment and contribute in the region of £1.2bn to the economy. This sector is therefore one of the key drivers for office accommodation on the Island.

While the finance sector is Guernsey's central industry, it is not the only driver for office accommodation.

The DPA expects the island's portfolio of office accommodation to encompass a "range of primary, secondary and tertiary office accommodation to meet the business needs of the island".

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Regular audits of the quality of the office space available will monitor the needs of the workforce and the delivery of that space.

The number of vacant offices was previously described as "concerning" but work on a Market Premises Audit which came under the Government Work Plan was deemed "not a priority" and "ceased".

Current developments including the "ongoing construction at La Rue Marguerite and Admiral Park" is seen as an "encouraging sign that the sector remains viable and responsive to requirements".

 

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