Happy colleagues walking through their modern office

All About the Vibe

Well, we made it through 2020. The last UK General Election seems a distant memory, but it happened just over a year ago. Then there was the prospect of 5 years of certainty ahead, a Brexit deal just to be finalised and low interest rates fuelling a non-stop housing boom. There was no pandemic.

Now, while house prices have gone up year on year – supported by low interest rates and, a cut in stamp duty, the flat market is, well flat!

Retail, Restaurants and Leisure had an Armageddon 2020 – yet these may be the areas that bounce back the quickest. If you had Industrial Property within your portfolio, simply, you would have cleaned up.

Nothing is ever certain – not even the finest business plan.

Which brings us to offices. Vacancy rates from near record lows are going to numbers not seen since 1992. Tenants are deciding whether working from home works or, to bring everyone back. Will Docklands recover? Will the City come back? The West End I have confidence in. There is simply a lack of supply to any demand.

One thing is clear – people need to be around people. Amazon had an awesome 2020 – what an amazing concept. Except recently, we had a number of packages delivered and my personal view is that it’s sad we won’t go shopping with friends or family in the same way we did prior to the internet. We have gone from a nation of shopkeepers to a nation of package deliverers. No interaction, no going out for one thing but coming back with something else. We have chosen to live our lives this way.

What has all this got to do with Offices – and the word “Vibe”? One definition is: “A person’s emotional state or the atmosphere of a place as communicated to and felt by others.”

Whether it is a 1-bedroom flat, a 5-bedroom house, small shop, large office – over 20 years’ experience has told me, the property chooses you, not the other way round. Does it have the right “vibe” for you, your company, your business? There is no vibe on a Zoom call, there is a lack of feeling and depth. All we see is colleagues with various types of bookcases in the background – yet that background was chosen by the colleague because they felt they could grow the next stage of their life there – as with a business and an office.

As we start 2021, we know 2020 was a year in which the world changed dramatically – it is where it should be – but we should never forget – the human brain created tech and AI – not the other way round. Unlike any computer, the human brain enables us to feel and create based on those feelings. We need our office more than ever so that the creativity one only gets by working alongside great people can build a better life for us all.

Wishing you and your families a happy healthy 2021.