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Normally at the end of the year I would look to write a reflective blog that would always look to present the best of SHB. This year has been so extraordinary that I think this writing experience will be relatively cathartic as I reflect on what this year has meant for SHB Real Estate, both now and in the future, but also what it has meant for me personally.

Brief SHB Synopsis — how did we look up until March 2020?


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Most of us will remember times when the economy took a dive. In this two part article, our CEO Simon Blair explores the effect past recessions have had on the economy and compares them to the pandemic today. To begin, here is a handy timeline.


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Our very own Freddie delves deeper in to COVID and its systematic change on the occupier market as priorities shift from the status quo, having both an adverse and positive effect on London submarkets.

Business districts in cities in the UK have endured major changes in demand as occupiers react to COVID, physical distancing rules and various lockdown measures. Not to mention the technological drivers as a direct impact of COVID. …


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Traditional commercial Landlords are known for being old-fashioned large estates that own huge portfolios. Some are so big that they tend to lose touch with their tenants and their respective needs. From the landlord’s perspective, why should they be so concerned by their Tenants’ requests? A lease contract has been signed and the tenant is now legally committed to paying rent for the duration of the lease or until the break clause. Portfolios are therefore valued from a spreadsheet showing rent roll and lease length. The only consideration of the tenant will be of their covenant strength judged by their historic annual accounts. Management surveyors try to steer away from tenants who are only seen as moaning about things like leaking toilets and dirty reception areas. The only time the traditional Landlords looks up to consider his actual tenant is at lease renewal time. But often, this is too late. …


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Within our industry, there has been a general consensus due to the restrictions imposed upon Londoners traveling into Central London to work in their London office buildings, that there should be a shift towards relocating those businesses out of Central London. This is due to the fear of using packed public transport whilst maintaining social distancing, increased (unnecessary) total annual occupancy costs, and the fact that perhaps the CEO/MD lives well out of town and therefore doesn’t want to have to come into London as much as he used to.

The above all sounds feasible but does the market offer opportunities to those businesses to achieve all of this but also retain talent? This is the big question and one that will only be answered over time. …


Over the last few weeks, I have seen a number of articles surrounding the topic of Mental Health and the impact lockdown has had. Since my last blog post that we issued during Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW), we have seen a rise in MH cases and that’s come as a result (which we predicted) of the devastating loss of life, loneliness during lockdown and the inevitable recession that we will experience ahead of us.

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We last addressed the imminent feelings of what employees were experiencing in the early stages of lockdown when the restrictions were at their tightest. But how are we coping now with the shifts in ‘normality’ after we have adjusted to the new way of working? …


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It is yours for the taking.

We get it — the way we work and utilise space has been thrown off balance! Organisations are questioning their commercial footprint and re-evaluating their CRE strategy, particularly with the length of agreements and size of space needed. For many, the immediate answer has been to commit to a solution within the flex market. SHB have seen a significant increase in serviced transactions in Q2 2020 compared to the same period last year and clients agreeing to short-term, flexible space has more than doubled between Q1 and Q2 — trends that are mirrored across the market.

Fora’s co-founder, Enrico Sanna, comments in the Estates Gazette suggested that there was already a shift away from traditional long-term leases to a shorter, more flexible offering and in my opinion, he’s not wrong. This is further supported in research by Colliers, showing that average lease length has reduced by up to 15 years in core markets over the last two decades, as organisations seek the ability to be versatile. The repercussions of the last 5 months suggest that agreement length will continue to reduce and thus, accelerating the demand for flex office space — surely, an open goal moment for flex providers, right? …


This marks the 17th week that we have been in lockdown since 23rd March, which is over 120 days. We have written 9 articles, perspectives, and opinion-based pieces during this time with the aim of keeping you up to date and informed during this difficult period. However, this will be the last blog in our COVID:19 series. Whilst COVID is still very much a threat and we are by no means “going back to normal,” we want to draw our attention to moving forwards and making the most out of this new world we are now in.

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Are you rushing to return to normal?

Excuse the Toy Story reference in the title, but it felt apt given that where we are heading is new and unknown, and whilst we have experienced pandemics before, none have affected the world in the same way as this one. Simon recently gave an insightful perspective into the current downturn and the potential extent of the damage to come. In this piece, I want to focus on the shifting market and the opportunity technology presents. …


When a tenant is approaching the end of the lease, it can be a stressful time, with lots of questions; Which location is the best to move to? What budget constraints are we currently faced with? How many desks will we need? Will we require as much office space as we initially forecasted for?

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This blog is my approach of Dilapidations

There are also the complexities of the move to resolve; the risk of double rents, IT and data security, timings of the fit-out works to finish on time for the big move- add into the mix Covid-19 requirements, and it’s easy to miss the obligations you may have on the property you are proposing to vacate. …


Over the extensive period of lock down, it has often felt that we are all stuck within a Truman Show style Armageddon film. The circumstances have been out of this world and 6 months ago the events that have since unfolded were to most unthinkable and yet, here we are!

Meanwhile, the train that is Covid-19 continues to power through, all the while leaving the devastation of the virus, but also the mixed opinions amongst the home and wider populations, along with mass uncertainty in its wake. Regardless of your opinion or orientation, the short-term outlook is dangerous on many levels and the growing subject matter of general concern has become so wide and varied covering health, education, retail, travel, working habits, social frustrations and of course a personal historical and market preference of pubs and restaurants. …

About

SHB Real Estate

We love London and we love what we do. www.shbre.co.uk

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