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Virus boosting demand for flexible offices

London

THE coronavirus outbreak may have sent most office workers into their homes, but London-based Workspace Group says it sees demand growing for their flexible offices.

The office leasing market is struggling to cope with the sudden drop in rental income. If firms can survive that immediate threat, demand will ultimately surge, said chief executive officer Graham Clemett.

The coronavirus outbreak has posed a grave threat to flexible office operators as companies grapple with widespread lockdowns to combat its spread.

But it has also raised questions about corporations' long-term office needs, which could push more companies to pay a premium for flexibility, instead of signing long-term leases with little scope to contract and expand during volatile periods.

Workspace, which owns its properties and therefore has more flexibility to adjust rents than rivals We Co and IWG, has offered its customers 50 per cent discounts until the end of June, as well as rent deferrals on a case-by-case basis.

It has so far managed to collect about 70 per cent of the rent due this quarter, net of the discounts, said the statement. BLOOMBERG

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