By Scott Wright

A MAJORITY of company chiefs in Scotland have no plans to downsize their office requirements despite the huge shift to home working seen during the coronavirus crisis, though nearly one-quarter do expect to make changes.

Huge numbers of Scots are continuing to work at home more than six months since Covid-19 was declared a pandemic, and with the prospect of restrictions tightening in light of an upsurge in cases, a mass return to the office would not appear to be imminent.

Against that backdrop, 52 per cent of respondents to a survey of more than 200 business leaders in Scotland say they have no plans to downsize their office requirements because of Covid-19.

Newarly one-quarter (24 per cent) said they would scale back, with 18% stating they expect to split offices into different locations. The findings come in a wider international report published by law firm CMS, which examines the impact of Covid-19 on the commercial real estate sector. CMS said the survey suggests Covid-19 will lead companies to review how their offices are used more than cutting the size of their space.

Chris Rae, a Glasgow-based partner and real estate specialist at CMS, said: “There’s little doubt that Covid-19 is proving to be a game-changer for commercial property but there are also encouraging post-pandemic signs for the sector. While nearly a quarter of Scottish occupiers expect to downsize, a small majority is anticipating no change to office requirements once we are able to return to work.

“The survey also highlights concerns about the productivity of remote working. While many employees will be seeking to work from home more frequently, the office has a key role to play across most industries where the need to interact and collaborate with colleagues, clients and customers remains essential. The office will also continue to be fundamental in establishing the right culture, camaraderie, and energy to motivate people within many companies and organisations.

“Many managers say they are expecting to implement new health, safety and wellbeing measures in advance of employees returning to the office. While we can expect significant changes to how offices are used, our report suggests this will impact floor plans much more than floor plates in many commercial property premises in Scotland.”