In the second part of our interview, Tony gives his predictions on the future of the office sector and provides some essential advice for organisations looking to relocate.

What does the North East offer as an office location for occupiers outside of the region?

For starters we have a wide variety of office space available in terms of size and location so we can cater for a full range of business sectors. We have good housing, be it city centre living or family housing, and our public transport is excellent with integrated bus, metro and rail services.

The North East is also known for its graduate labour, staff flexibility and loyalty and this mix provides a great selling platform for the region.

What are the top 3 issues occupiers should consider when acquiring new offices?

Accessibility to qualified staff – no matter how low the property costs are, without good access to a pool of appropriately qualified staff, any business will suffer.  

The right office environment – location, specification, flexibility of the space to allow for changes in office layout and good office design are all key for creating an attractive environment for staff to work and can assist greatly in a business’s staff retention.

IT resilience is key – we all rely on technology a lot more now than we did even as little as 5 years ago, and that reliance is only going to get stronger judging by what home working has taught us. Secure high speed broadband is a key business requirement.

Where do you see the office sector going over the next few years?

That’s an interesting question to be asked given the current world that we are living in. I guess many of us are getting used to working from home with Skype or Zoom meetings but I believe that the vast majority of us would like to get back into a working office environment as soon as possible, given that we do like social interaction. So I don’t by any stretch of the imagine see the market falling away.

What we are likely to see is a change in the way that we use the office with a continuation of home working but on a part time basis. We have seen office occupational densities increase in most business sectors but with social distancing being required, we are likely to see a move away from high density occupation, giving staff more social distance between colleagues.

Greater flexibility will be required by businesses and therefore there could well be a growth in the number of organisations looking to move to higher quality accommodation that benefits from better use of technology and space flexibility built into the base design of the building.

The North East does offer a great mix of available city centre and out of town space and given that our base costs are significantly less than other regions, we could well see a continuation and even expansion of North Shoring to allow companies to capitalise on what we can offer.            

What sort of space is currently available at Quorum and what is happening on the Park over the next 12 months?

Since the park changed ownership at the end of 2019 the new owners have been working on a range of new ideas which will start to come through this year. We have started to release the new brand for the park which will give a strong, fresh identity. More to be seen over the course of 2020 on that!

In terms of available space, we are able to cater for businesses of all sizes. Within Neon we have office suites from 681 qft and within Q12 we have a building of 92,000 sqft, so we can pretty much provide any business with a space solution that can work for them, but with a quality of space that is consistent for everyone.

The new owners are seeking to use new technology wherever possible. For example, additional electric vehicle charging is being looked at for the park and the highly successful Q Card is being revamped in an App format which will improve customer access.

If occupiers on the park have their own ideas on what the park would benefit from then I’m sure the management team would love to hear from them.

To contact Tony for details on the office space currently available at Quorum Park, email him at: Tony.Wordsworth@avisonyoung.com