How do recessions affect office design | Office design Cambridge, London, Manchester
The Workspace Consultants

How do recessions affect office design?

Aside from its people, the most significant investment a business is likely to make is real estate, whether it’s rent, décor, office furniture or all a selection of, most businesses carry a significant cost for their office space.

Recession meaning

Downsizing office space whilst targetting growth - is this the best approach?

A recession may be looming and, considering our shift to hybrid working, office space could easily be an area where savings are made. But is that the correct approach?

Rumours of an impending recession often lead to analysis of the size, use and even location of our office spaces and downsizing is of course part of the mix. It's likely to deliver savings on rent and rates, but it needs to be carefully considered, especially if your business is targeting growth.

During the pandemic the amount of office space in England fell by more than 18 million square feet and a recession may exacerbate this decline. In the short term it might be more sensible to rethink and rework our office space, supporting hybrid working more effectively, to save money and increase efficiency.

Taking positive action during the looming recession

There's a school of thought that we can talk ourselves into a recession… and positive action at this stage may certainly be the most sensible solution to protect your business. Careful planning and changing the way we work is definitely proactive, and refreshing office space will certainly be be hugely beneficial to staff morale and could save cost moving forward.

Consolidation over a number of premises or at a single site can have a positive effect on communication, team building and efficiency, and opportunities for creative collaboration between departments may also be generated. A Feasibility Study starting with robust analysis and followed by a Space Planning exercise is the first step in this process and will ensure accuracy and clarity for the future. This analysis phase could include a space utilisation survey as well as workshops and E surveys, and we may be able to demonstrate that reducing office space is a viable option to help make you more recession proof.

For Carol Chinn, Design Partner at The Workspace Consultants, the workplace is ever changing and we need to keep pace. ‘The consensus appears to be that businesses who resist change are missing an opportunity,' says Carol. ‘It’s clear that the workplace is constantly evolving so achieving the right balance between cost-effectiveness and employee satisfaction is good sense. In fact, poor use of office space is potentially costly for UK businesses. Consulting staff and detailed space analysis can provide insight into how your offices can best be used to keep employees engaged and motivated; it can also help you retain your best talent for the long term. You may even be able to bag yourself a better location if businesses are on the move.

The Workspace Consultants specialise in office design and project management in Cambridge, London and Manchester, so why not call us on 01223 656111 or complete our enquiry form to arrange a consultation?


Workplace Strategy

The information gathering process required to develop a robust brief should involve a series of surveys to map current and expected business requirements, if implemented they will ensure project success.

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Office Design

The design and usability of a workspace affects staff productivity, morale and retention. It also influences internal and external perceptions of your organisation and can therefore affect growth and profitability.

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Project Management

A strong project management team can control the budget and the schedule, as well as the quality of the finish. Our experienced project managers are trained to pre-empt and remove risks from your project.

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Furniture selection is fundamental to office design and plays a vital role in the comfort and productivity of your employees. Our furniture specialists can help you choose the perfect furniture for your workspace.

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  • Unit 1, Avenue Business Park
    Brockley Road
    Cambridge, CB23 4EY
  • Telephone 01223 656111



  • 1 Giltspur Street
    London, EC1A 9DD