Manchester offices rise to social distancing challenges

Office space in Manchester is adapting to changing working conditions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the last 30 years, office buildings have become more densely packed, but social distancing measures now require desks to have more space between them. It is estimated that moving desks farther apart could reduce the capacity of office space by 60%.

One way to deal with offices having less capacity is for some remote working staff to continue to work from home. A recent survey found that 73% of office workers said that they were more productive working from home, and 80% wanted to continue home working for at least one day a week. If remote working becomes normal for most firms, this may require upgrading the IT infrastructure, with space needed for extra servers.

Graham Harle. the chief executive of property and construction consultant Gleeds, says:

“I do not see this as the end of the commercial office. I do, however, see that changes in workspace utilisation are now inevitably being implemented more quickly because of the ongoing impact of the pandemic.”

He estimates that the cost of the increased space requirements could be £8,000 a year per employee in central London. This could have a positive effect on the demand for office space in Manchester. Many large companies are looking to save costs by relocating to Manchester where offices are cheaper to buy or rent. There is also a highly skilled workforce in the city, as well as good value housing and efficient transport links.