The demand for London office space is still high, and there’s a good reason
London is one of the top global financial centres in the world, with figures published by the City of London Corporation, showing that it ranked alongside New York in leading financial centres globally. It’s also leading the way in a combination of traditional sectors (real estate, private banking, hedge funds, insurance), as well as fast growing spaces such as gaming, AI and life sciences.
The appeal of being in London is multifaceted, ranging from the time zone and the legal and regulatory frameworks to the financial expertise, infrastructure and access to global markets, but crucially it’s about the community. In London, especially in Canary Wharf, businesses find themselves physically located amongst those with an appetite for entrepreneurialism, growth and investment.
It’s that physical presence that’s so fundamentally important, absorbing the energy and making space for the serendipitous meetings that spark new ideas, or the ease of catching up over a coffee and forming working partnerships. That’s the basis on which both employees and businesses are attracted to this city.
In this article, we delve deeper into those business benefits and the reasons London office space is still in high demand.
A thriving business environment
London is a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship, with a vibrant start-up scene and a diverse range of industries. For example, it became the home of more than 18,000 new tech startups in 2021 alone.
The city’s highly skilled workforce, excellent transport links and supportive business infrastructure make it an attractive destination for companies of all sizes. It’s not enough to simply have a postcode here, employers and employees want to physically be in this environment, absorbing the atmosphere and making the most of the opportunities that it has to offer.
For example, Canary Wharf has become known for its Level39 tech community, which facilitates rapid growth. It’s also becoming known for its rapidly evolving life sciences community at North Quay, which is set to become Europe’s largest and most advanced laboratory building by 2026.
These spaces not only offer state of the art facilities in environments that are developed specifically to appeal to top talent in their respective fields, but they also place investors, scale-ups and other organisations alongside one another to create the perfect ecosystem for successful growth and a thriving business environment.
The impact of Brexit on demand for London office space
Despite concerns over Brexit, London’s office market has remained strong. The city’s status as a global business hub has helped to cushion the impact of Brexit, with many businesses continuing to see London as a vital gateway to Europe.
A 2022 review by the House of Lords European Affairs Committee said that in the wake of Brexit: “London has retained its position as the world’s second largest/most important financial centre and the most important in Europe.”
The reasons London remains important to Europe are:
- The scope of industries located in and trading through London, from law and finance to tech and media.
- The geographical location between Asia and North America makes London an ideal base for businesses seeking to trade on a global scale.
- London is ranked ranked Alpha++, making it one of the most connected cities in the world (the only other is New York)
- London is home to multiple world-class universities that attract top talent from around the world, and many of which partner with leading businesses as well. For example, the Canary Wharf Group has partnerships with leading educators including UCL.
- London is well connected with excellent transport links. For example, in Canary Wharf, London City Airport is on your doorstep and Heathrow Airport is a relatively short tube ride away, so physical as well as digital connectivity is easy.
The net result is that London remains a highly attractive location for employees and business owners to live in, as well as for companies to have office space, in order to place themselves at the centre of global business opportunities, including those in Europe.
Demand for high-quality London office space
London has more than 1,000 years of commercial adaptation and evolution to its name. It’s a thriving commercial hub that’s rooted in its ability to change with the times whilst retaining a deeply ingrained and stable infrastructure. With the rise of digitisation and remote working trends, this mindset has seen London’s office market evolve to meet the growing demand for high-quality, flexible office space.
The demand for London office space hasn’t diminished, but the type of space that businesses want has shifted. As a case in point, the Evening Standard reported that “demand for central London office space surged 24% in 2022”.
Companies are looking for spaces that can accommodate changing work practices, with a focus on collaboration, productivity, and employee wellbeing. More flexible workspace, environments developed for wellbeing and neurodiversity, and spaces that are curated to offer something that home working cannot, are all part of the changing landscape. From the architecture and design of London office space to the lease structures, London is meeting the needs of businesses and their employees with office space designed for the future.
The shift towards hybrid and remote working trends
It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift towards hybrid and remote working trends, with many companies adopting flexible working practices that combine home and office-based working.
This has led to a greater demand for flexible office space that can accommodate changing working patterns. That flexibility means incorporating a variety of spaces for different use, lease lengths and the ability for businesses to extend their office use as they grow. For example, there might be hot desks, collaborative areas, spaces that can be leased by the day, the week or the month, as well as locations where you can take up one room today or two floors as you develop,
This is where communities like Canary Wharf have been game changing. They show that London is leading the way for businesses to have office environments that attract and nurture success whilst also embracing and making the most of the shift towards hybrid and remote working trends.
Overall, London remains an extremely attractive location for businesses to have either an office or their head office. It’s a thriving educational and cultural hub as well as a business one, and that makes it a treasure trove of top talent; a place where people want to come to work and are motivated to make things happen. For all those reasons and more, the demand for London office space is still high.
Go to top
The OoO Society
Join The Out of Office Society and discover a series of free events to make more of your time on the Wharf. Download the Canary Wharf App to book your free space today