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Why Brexit Shouldn’t Affect Your Office Fit-Out Plans

23.10.2018|By Andrew Jackson

Let me ask you a question...

With the current uncertainty surrounding the UK’s departure from the European Union, have you thought about putting your office fit-out or refurbishment plans on hold, or even abandoned them completely?

If so, we’re here to advise this might not be the best course of action.

There are a number of reasons why Brexit shouldn’t be putting your office fit-out plans on hold. Let's get into them...

 

 1) Future Candidates Won’t Accept Your Brexit Excuse

Don't let Brexit ruin your office fit out plans

It’s certainly the case that Brexit presents a shift in the way we plan for business changes in the long-term. It has altered the way we think about doing business and there’s a certain degree of pragmatism currently in the air. So, you could be forgiven for thinking that you need to consider reducing spend and putting some of those workspace change plans temporarily on hold.

There’s one issue with that way of thinking... Your future candidates don’t care.

As each year goes by, more and more young professionals are demanding the gold-standard of working environments. Rows of desks and a bland canteen just don’t cut it anymore. Regardless of Brexit, if you want to attract the best candidates and retain your existing talented workforce, you need an office space that competes with the best.

The next generation of candidates, who are going to take your business forward, won’t look at your business and accept that you never developed your office because you were worried about Brexit. Instead, they will look elsewhere for a business who dared to think beyond the constraints of the Brexit deadline.

In their ‘What Workers Want’ 2017 report, Hays noted that 97% of employees and employers say ‘cultural fit is very or quite important’. Indeed, 62% say they would be prepared to take a pay cut to work for an organisation that offers a better cultural fit.

With so much competition these days, candidates want to find a business where they feel they belong and if you can’t offer them a workplace that fits their needs, you’ll lose them.

 

2. Brexit Presents an Opportunity, Not a Challenge

brexit-presents-opportunity

Rather than looking at Brexit as a hindrance to your business, use the situation as an opportunity to rethink the way your business operates.

Take into account the efficiency of your workplace and use the changing landscape as inspiration to look at the way your team works together. When you take the time to stand back and consider the way you’re doing things, what could be improved? And how could the design of your office help that?

From an office design perspective, Brexit is a chance for businesses to rethink what your office might be costing you in terms of extra space and inefficiency. If you allow yourself the opportunity to think about these business factors through workplace consultancy, you might be able to streamline your overheads and act against any impact that Brexit might have.

Great companies, throughout history, have used tumultuous circumstances to their advantage - that’s how they became great companies. They see opportunity at every turn and flourish under uncertainty. When your competitors slow down, you need to speed up.

 

3. The Workplace Revolution Won’t Go Away

the-workplace-revolution-is-here-to-stay

It takes something huge to stop a revolution.

Yes, there’s no denying that Brexit constitutes a major change to the UK and EU’s relationship but it’s going to take a seismic shift to halt the workplace revolution that’s happening today.

Business owners are waking up to the idea that their office space can actually have a positive impact on team performance, by improving wellbeing and morale which in turn, improves productivity. This has lead to a number of companies investing in a fit out or refurbishment and seeing a tangible return on their outlay.

This revolution stems from some of the world’s top companies and has spread across the globe in recent years. Through the rise of companies like WeWork, we can see the demand for communal office spaces increasing as companies look to emulate the models of big-hitters like Google and Apple. These types of spaces inspire innovation and it’s no wonder that the companies who pride themselves on being forward-thinking are setting the pace for the workspace revolution.

The current trends also show a rise in the number of companies looking to boost the versatility of their office space. No longer does the purpose of an office limit itself to business as the demand for recreational features, like Google’s ‘play space’, become more regular occurrences in the modern working environment. This demonstrates a change in working culture and something that goes far and beyond any repercussions of the UK leaving the EU.

Brexit might be looming but the office revolution is ploughing on regardless and will still be going strong in a post-Brexit world. The only question is, will you join the revolution?

 

4. Developments Aren’t Slowing Down

developments-aren't-slowing-down

Okay, so Brexit presents an opportunity, but surely most businesses are taking a conservative approach to big spending in the next few years? Let me answer your question with another question.

Have you travelled into Manchester City Centre lately? Did you notice anything? They’re tall, they swing around and are pretty hard to miss. That’s right, I’m talking, of course, about cranes. A symbol of innovation and progress, they dominate the skyline and show no signs of leaving soon.

If the number of cranes is anything to go by, it shows that office developments aren’t slowing down. In fact, they’re speeding up. In Manchester alone, as much as 1.5 million sq ft of office floor space is currently being built in the city centre.

Simon Bedford, partner at Deloitte Real Estate, said: “Manchester has firmly established itself as one of Europe’s fastest growing cities.

“We’ve reached the point where Manchester should be judged by different criteria from other UK regional cities. Manchester is now in a different league, genuinely competing with other European and international cities.”

Manchester isn’t in isolation either. Go to any major UK city today and you’ll find new offices popping up all over the place. This is evidence that whatever the outcome of Brexit, businesses are still recognising the demand for great office space.

 

5. No Business Ever Grew By Standing Still

no-business-grew-by-standing-still

A new office space doesn’t just optimise the way your team operates, it says something about who you are as a business.

It’s not just candidates that look at a business’ brand and how they present themselves. Just like an employee’s desk can show you a glimpse of their personality, your potential customers look at your office space as a physical representation of what your business stands for.

If you operate out of a dated, one-dimensional box, guess what kind of business you look like?

By developing your office into a modern, innovative space, you assume the identity of a business that is always looking ahead and one that dares to be bold.

You need to ask yourself, Brexit aside, what kind of business do you want to be? One that stands still for fear of external threats? Or one that takes its future into its own hands and becomes a vision of the values it claims to stand for?

Using the example of Google, they designed their workplace to represent the type of people they are and the type of candidates they want to attract. With bright colours, playful furniture and ‘open all hours’ access, Google is able to attract young, quirky IT geniuses and creative millennials who can take their company forward.

Something external like Brexit wouldn’t change the type of people Google want in their team and it shouldn’t alter your vision either.

You can’t afford to hide behind the excuse of Brexit. You need to modernise if you want to compete for and retain the top candidates who will take your business to the next level.

Not only shouldn’t Brexit affect your office fit-out plans, it mustn’t. One day in the not-too-distant future, Brexit will be a distant memory and you’ll see your employees’ eyes start to wander to those competitors that chose to innovate.

If you want to learn more about how to turn your office into the kind of space where your business can truly flourish, give us a call on 0161 402 3340 or email us at hello@opus-4.com.