Office space in the capital, South East and Wales is less densely used than in other UK regions, new research from the British Council for Offices (BCO) has revealed
The South and West is now the most densely occupied with 8.6m² per workplace followed by the East (9.4m²) and Scotland (9.7m²) – according to the BCO’s 2013 Occupier Density Study.
The South East had the most spacious offices at 12.7m² per workplace followed by Wales (11.4m²) and London (11.3m²).
The average density of UK office space has shot up to 10.9m² from 11.8m² per workplace in 2008. Back in 1997 the average density was a generous 16.6m².
Economic pressure and flexible working patterns have been recognised as key drivers behind the shift towards more efficient space use.
The study also found typical ‘space budgets’ had shifted with fixed workplaces – traditionally 80 per cent of a building – now taking up less floor space. Meeting rooms, client entertainment spaces and breakout areas are used instead because working styles have become more flexible and mobile.
The report found that this is particularly the case for the corporate, technology, media and telecommunications and professional services sectors which have average densities of 13.1 m², 12.3m² and 10.5m² compared to 9.7m² for the financial and insurance sector.
BCO chief executive Richard Kauntze said: ‘More and more occupiers are now looking for buildings that can cater for a variety of workplace settings and that can respond to their changing needs over time.
‘Traditionally the development sector tends to create workplaces based on a high density use across the whole space, which has required a higher specification to support it. The challenge in the years ahead will be to design buildings that can meet these aspirations without resorting to over specification.
‘Organisations want to manage their work environments more flexibly, and the ability to increase occupation density is a key element. As a result they desire workplaces that can adapt to specific increased demands as their business needs evolve.’