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Helen Deverill, Arena Business Centres: Companies will move on from lengthy leases to customisable workspaces

By Sara Klusch
15 September 2021
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The Thames Valley Property Awards 2021, organised by The Business Magazine, bring together the cream of professional talent among the agents, developers, planners, consultants, property lawyers, and dealmakers in the region. The event could not take place without the support of sponsors, such as Arena Business Centres, a company that delivers workspace solutions in prime locations since 2003. We caught up with Helen Deverill of Arena Business Centres, on the general trends in the sector and on what it is one should look for in a winner for the Thames Valley Property Awards.

What is the Community Impact Award and why did you, as a company, specifically choose to sponsor this award? 

Helen Deverill: This award is for a business, workplace or venue that has demonstrated a collaborative and proactive approach to corporate social responsibility, supporting the community through Covid-19 or excellence in responsible business practice. We chose this award as it closely resonates with Arena Business Centre’s purpose, vision and values.

What does the workplace of the future look like? Could you give us five defining characteristics? 

Helen Deverill: There will be a significant trend as companies move out of lengthy leases to flexible offices where they can customise their workspace. Having the freedom to create a bespoke environment that truly works for the company, its ethos and team will be hugely important. The demand for ‘Hub and Spoke’ workspace that is closer to the homes of the employees so they can work locally, will remove the need for a lengthy commute to their head office. 

More consideration will be given to well-designed workspaces that look after employee wellbeing and ensure it is a pleasure to come to the office. There is a huge appetite for inspiring collaboration areas, that allow time away from the desk to sit with a coffee and catch up with colleagues to share their best ideas. With an ever changing landscape, the ability to remain flexible and keep agile is crucial as is the demand for flexible contracts that give cost certainty and control.

How did you, as a firm, navigate the challenges the pandemic posed to your sector during this financial year? 

Helen Deverill: Our primary focus as a team was to look after our clients, working closely with them through this challenging period to support them and make sure we were there to take care of the small details so they could focus on the bigger picture.  

How have they differed from the previous year and what are your expectations for 2022/2023?

Helen Deverill: We anticipate seeing more businesses looking for local satellite offices with corporates choosing to relocate to flexible offices avoiding the ties of a lengthy lease. There will be an increase of hybrid working with teams continuing to work flexibly.

The demand for inspirational working environments will see huge growth as companies look to improve employee wellbeing, retain their best talent and make coming into the office a pleasure.