Although a medical intervention to halt Covid-19 is not yet with us, increasingly businesses are looking beyond the crisis and planning for the next business cycle. How will companies prepare for a different world of working?
We continue to live in truly unprecedented times which are affecting many aspects of our lives. Whilst societies and economies will undoubtedly recover from the pandemic, Covid 19 has accelerated a number of structural changes which are having a profound and permanent impact on real estate. Space use strategy will be clearly an area of great scrutiny, with the pandemic accelerating, and in some cases forcing behavioural change. Technology for example has stepped up to offer business resilience and operational continuity. Business will rightly be mindful of this in the next wave of planning, but will also recognise that over the longer-term, business collaboration, culture and cohesion will deteriorate as human contact does.
The role of the workplace and the city of situation therefore retains huge importance, even in the context of technological advances. The fortunes of cities, businesses and the built environment are interwoven.
Progress promises growth, resilience and quality of life. Cardiff examples many key attributes of a progressive, dynamic city and is setting the foundation that will serve future generations.
- Through educational infrastructure, funding and a defined growth path, Cardiff is embracing growth sectors such as Life Sciences and next wave technology.
- Connectivity and the digital infrastructure is now a significant asset of differentiation for both the built environment and city locations alike. Cardiff was one of the first UK cities to benefit from the Government’s multi-million-pound investment in ultrafast broadband and importantly has a city internet exchange.
- The form and function of the office will shift towards a hub for collaboration, creativity and innovation rather than as a hub for 9 to 5 processing and administration. To achieve this, firms will favour amenity rich, high quality and flexible space.
- Demand for serviced office space will grow mainly driven by an occupier need for greater flexibility. Cardiff has a limited offering in this respect, a void that increasingly traditional landlords will fill.
- The structure of demand for industrial space is rapidly changing fuelled by the growth of ecommerce. Although Cardiff is not a main UK distribution hub, customer service and quicker delivery is meaning rising importance of delivery points closer to the end consumer. This will increasingly supplement the established manufacturing demand base.
- Cardiff is growing as a location of choice for multi-national firms meaning that a varied supply of good quality residential property is vital to accommodate the growth in working population. Affordability and the desire to attain modern accommodation with shared social space continues to fuel the build to rent market.
We have entered a new age of uncertainty, but one that will see a greater focus on agility and innovation. The way we live our lives as workers, citizens and consumers has, and continues to transform at a frightening pace. Therefore, continued investment into Infrastructure whether, physical, digital or educational in tandem with nurture of local talent is imperative to keep Cardiff relevant on an increasingly competitive stage. Opportunity to reconnect and reimagine will come from crisis and serve to drive growth in Cardiff and across the capital region. Ultimately, continual reinvention is prerequisite to economic development.
“We continue to live in truly unprecedented times which are affecting many aspects of our lives. Whilst societies and economies will undoubtedly recover from the pandemic, Covid 19 has accelerated a number of structural changes which are having a profound and permanent impact on real estate.”
Matt Phillips – Office Head, Cardiff Commercial