Editors Note: The following content has been provided by Steve Higgon, CEO of TAAP – The Agile Application Platform. TAAP are at the forefront of digital transformation delivering to a multitude of customers across several vertical markets. TAAP aims to bring platforms to the masses with their ‘no code’ approach.
The commercial property market over the past year has been difficult to navigate and even more difficult to predict. With a global shift towards home working, the demand for office spaces plummeted and it seems a ‘hybrid’ model will become a permanent fixture, demanding a more flexible response from the commercial property market. But could no-code platforms provide the light at the end of the tunnel?
Commercial Property Switch-Up
The movement to home working has made many businesses re-evaluate their operating model, and determine if those multi-floor, city-centre office-based locations are necessary, especially when considering their bottom line. In many circumstances last year, the answer was simply no, and organisations nationwide consolidated their office space. For example, Capita chose to close 49 out of 294 of its offices since the pandemic began.
Whilst there was a considerable drop in demand for office space in 2020, IWG says demand for office space is rising as the UK plan for hybrid working, in particular, there is a growing demand for temporary desk rentals.
In a BBC report, almost all of the 50 UK’s biggest employers have said they do not plan to bring staff back to the office full-time. In an interview with the BBC, Mark Read, Chief Executive of WPP stated “people are working from home three to four days a week, so we probably need 20% less space.”
For many businesses, they still recognise the benefits of having a central location where employees can collaborate, as home working alone isn’t sufficient and many organisations still succeed on those face-to-face interactions. But some have chosen smaller locations, where rather than dedicated desks, employees would hot desk with available space, creating a more flexible working environment.
The change in the working model has promoted a need for commercial properties to be more flexible and according to a recent survey they are willing to do so, with more than 80% of landlords willing to offer more flexible lease terms. Businesses no longer want to be locked into 12-month contracts or huge office spaces, they want a collaborative space.
Navigating the Market with No-Code
No-code is a fast-emerging area within the technology sector and enables solutions to be built without any coding and in a matter of minutes. So how exactly does this apply to the property sector?
The solutions developed by no-code platforms could help commercial property owners make a flexible model, that is seamless and, in most circumstances, autonomous.
At this moment in time, many of these properties operated on annual contracts. But now customers want a more adaptable model, similar to those operated in co-working spaces, with meeting room bookings and a hot-desk strategy. Switching up an entire operating model is no easy feat, but adding no-code technology into the mix could make it a seamless process, fast.
Instead of entering into long-term contracts, businesses could let office spaces as and when they require them, helping them to save money, but also promote new business for the property owners. Using no-code solutions landlords or facility managers have access to an adaptable platform, that allows them to rent all their available offices and meeting rooms on a short-term basis seamlessly. Due to the nature of no-code, platform features can be simply tweaked based on individual needs and scalable across multiple locations.
There will of course be those that still require a permanent space but may downsize and have their employees work on a hybrid model. A hot-desking model can be extremely difficult to monitor manually, whereas utilising a no-code solution, this model could be automatically managed. Using a cloud-based platform, employees can see desk availability immediately and request desk space on the days they plan to go into the office. Waiting lists could be created in case of cancellations and automatic reminders created, so that space never goes unused.
Whilst the road ahead may be unclear for the sector, a need to be adaptable is crucial. Digitalisation could be the key to re-igniting the demand for office space again.