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Office quality at risk as firms feel pressure to cut costs

Almost 90 per cent of firms questioned in a new MORI survey admitted they were being placed under 'significant pressure' to reduce property costs - even though these expenses accounted for just 9 per cent of total business costs.

However, the study, commissioned by the British Council for Offices (BCO) and supported by architect TP Bennett, revealed that the quality of the office environment is still one of the major factors used in attracting and retaining staff.

Around 95 per cent of respondents described the quality of the office as 'very important' or a 'fairly important'.

The survey, which was launched at the BCO's annual conference in Paris last week, also revealed that the quality of UK offices compares well with offices around the world, with only those in Hong Kong scoring higher.

The research was conducted among 100 office occupiers, companies with over 3,000 staff across several sectors, and some surprising results arose.

For instance, only two-thirds of companies said they would be willing to pay a premium for more environmentally sustainable buildings, even though 94 per cent acknowledged that the issue of sustainability will be important in the future.

Giving a keynote address at the conference, former CABE chairman Stuart Lipton called for a benchmarking system for offices.

Quoting the Australian Property Council's matrix, he said that by assessing floorplate areas, specification and environmental aspects, tenants would be more easily able to select the appropriate accommodation.

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