Is location still king, or is there a pretender to its throne?

Location, location, location, most would idly say always was and always will be the big driver. But does the mantra still resonate and, if not, what other words might be on our lips? With occupiers now highly tuned to the fundamental needs for more productivity, competitiveness, mobility, flexibility and sustainability from their offices, could quality be having a louder say in the decision-making process?

Certainly there is mounting evidence that corporates are targeting higher quality with the right design (and imagination) in offices that are ‘future-proof’ to ecological, ethical, financial and operational needs. And they seem more prepared to pay for the right space, in the knowledge that the cost will be offset by gains in recruitment, productivity and space utility, and by the savings generated in more efficient and sustainable buildings.

However, as our Offices 2020 Research reveals, location is still the dominant driver in decision-making, as the need to access people, suppliers and clients grows ever stronger.  In an increasing war for talent, it can be decisive. Ironically, as ‘face-time’ becomes a precious commodity, even mobile working has reinforced location.

Being off-location has dazzling financial attractions, but there are serious downside risks.  For those that must be central, but are flexible on quality, then there are still discounts to be had.  But once again, beware the false economies that lower quality space might bring.  Above all, while location is still king pay due deference to the rest of the royal family and carefully analyse the true costs of your real estate decisions on recruitment, retention, brand and much more.