How office relocations and fit outs can still be carried out.
After taking a detailed brief, the first stage of any office relocation will involve site inspections. Thanks to a vast improvement in technology in recent years, many landlords are able to offer a'virtual tour' of their properties; using web-based applications to host them.Even in a pre-COVID world, online tours of properties were a big help in familiarising interested parties with the space; providing them with the opportunity to imagine what their ideas will look like in the space they were viewing.
Of course, there is no substitute for a physical inspection, but creating a shortlist (before undertaking further due diligence) will help you to be aware of what to look out for once you're able to view the property in its physical form. 'Further due diligence' could include things like designing office fitout plans, requesting initial proposals and cash flowing these against alternative options.
If you have any lease events this year, the prospect of an office relocation in this current climate may seem daunting(especially considering the pressure placed on fit outs by the new guidelines);this might prove a decision too risky for some. However, it's definitely worth reviewing your current lease to see if you have any protection under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. If you do have protection, you should (bar a few exceptions) be entitled to hold over you rcurrent office while negotiating a lease extension.
Ultimately, this time should be used to review how your office works for your business; for the first time, most people are working productively from home, so why not harness that? While we all miss the social interactions that the office brings, you may want to consider your home working policies and space requirements. Other businesses' have been using the current climate as an opportunity to diversify their portfolio with a number of decentralised office locations; helping to minimise risk for when the workplace is ready to get up and running again. As a result, they are able to use the space available to them more effectively; maintaining social distancing for the short-medium-term, whilst creating new social and collaborative spaces for the longer term, when everything is (hopefully!) COVID-free.
Whatever your situation and particul arrequirements, the Oaktree team are here to help.