A study has found that 70% of business owners said that permanent changes need to be made to their office space in Manchester.

OBI, the real estate consultancy, surveyed 100 business owners for its ‘The Future of Work and Our City’.

After workers are free to return to all offices once lockdown restrictions have been lifted, it is expected that work will remain more flexible, with many workers spending some of their time remotely working from home. In many offices, technology needs to be upgraded to assist in flexible working. This can include the creation of more meeting spaces for collaboration and video conferencing.

Four out of five (80%) Manchester business leaders surveyed said that they want more flexibility when agreeing on new office leases. Andrew Cowell from OBI said:

“Lengthy leases with complex terms are becoming increasingly unattractive for occupiers.”

OBI forecasts a safe return to Manchester offices after lockdown restrictions are lifted. Returning workers will boost the daytime trade of hospitality venues, but 80% of those surveyed are concerned about the future of the city centre and want more support for the hospitality industry.

People visiting the city centre during the pandemic were struck by the improvement in air quality due to fewer vehicles. Cowell says that workers will not be comfortable if pre-pandemic emission levels return. He wants the government and local leaders to support a better public transport system in Manchester that reduces traffic and tempts people back to the city centre.