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An Optimistic View of the Future of our City Centres

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Peace Recruitment is based about 10 minutes’ walk from Haymarket in Edinburgh.  Driving through the city on the days in which I come into the office, it’s obvious that there are others doing the same things but the streets are fairly deserted. 

Many people think that our city centres are going to have to change.  Instead of all the offices, coffee shops, eateries and bars, they say we’re going to see more working from home and a concomitant drop-off in the use of those coffee shops, eateries, etc. 

In fact, I’m more optimistic than most.  With the announcement of what appears to be working vaccines and the expectation that things will be back to normal by next summer, I suspect that many will return to their old ways of working.  The camaraderie of the office has been sorely missed by the majority of us and although I do believe that there will be far more flexible working in the future, most of us will want more time with the companionship of the office than stuck at home.  With warmer temperatures, the chance to get out for a coffee (or a beer!) at lunchtime and mix socially with your colleagues will become greater and this will push most of us back to our old habits.

However, I do also think that more flexible working could well result in a demand for more flexible office space. Better IT, allowing for seamless home working, more hot-desking, more virtual meetings – all of these will become more common.  We may well see some office space reverting or converting to domestic property, and wouldn’t that be a good thing!  More people living in our city centres would then increase the demand for those coffee shops, bars and eateries.  Property firms will become more dynamic, more imaginative and innovative in how they organise and market their business.  There is, in my view, the possibility that we could have an even better city centre property/construction market than ever before…

Chris Peace, MD, Peace Recruitment

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