In the Media: Yorkshire Business Insider talks to Paul Scourfield about opportunities for landlords within the TMT sector
The rise in the TMT sector and the trend towards collaborative
working provides an enormous opportunity for landlords to secure a
new breed of occupier, and one with enormous growth potential.
Traditionally, new small businesses tended to set up in a spare
bedroom or the garden shed to keep costs down. While remote
technology allows them to still connect with customers and
colleagues, this type of premises it is not conducive to the
sharing of ideas and business growth opportunities created in a
collaborate working environment, which is now considered a 'must'
for most TMT firms.
Similar to the likes of fast food chains and estate agents which
benefit from clustering, TMT companies often prefer to be together
in a single hub where they can benefit from working alongside other
aligned businesses, collaborating on projects, referring work and
being part of a more creative environment.
The property sector is responding by rethinking its approach to
small scale and shorter term leases and creating a flexible less
formal working environment compared to traditional physical desk
layouts. Catering to this new opportunity is also leading to a
review of the facilities, services and even building fabric which
landlords need to consider in order to attract these tenants.
At the heart of the creation of TMT hubs is the ability to
connect to superfast broadband, to ensure the uninterrupted
operation of these digitally based businesses. Single large
occupiers are increasingly demanding their own dedicated cable, as
there's nothing more frustrating, and potentially damaging to a
business of this sort, than an unreliable internet connection. In
future proofing their buildings, landlords would be wise to
consider installing several more lines with the capacity for faster
speeds than they would normally, as a contingency.
Future proofing is certainly a key decision-making factor in any
upcoming refurbishment or new tenancy. For example, we have a large
TMT client which 'future-proofs' its own operations by taking more
space and installing better services than they need right now. This
allows them the flexibility to expand teams at short notice in
order to fulfil specific project requirements, and ensures they are
never on the back foot when a new technology requires greater
internet capacity. In the meantime, that extra space becomes a
flexible, informal environment furnished with easy chairs and
sofas, to encourage collaborative working and relationship
The practicalities of space planning for TMT businesses are
actually beneficial to landlords who can make the most of buildings
with large open plan footplates - or those with the ability to
refurbish them back to that state - and the provision of additional
facilities such as cafes and shared meeting spaces. Flexible
touchdown spaces - the new parlance for hotdesking - require not
only easily accessible WiFi, but also some 'in-house' furniture for
those micro-businesses renting space ad hoc.
This trend could mark a return to favour for the much-maligned
1960s and 70s office buildings, where there is a lot of redundant
stock. These secondary buildings are becoming popular for Grade A
refurbishment with their large expansive footplates and often
accessible locations. Purpose-built in their time, these buildings
are also often more straightforward to retrofit 'smart'
technologies - renewables, remote operation, real time metering -
which are likely to appeal to operators in the TMT sector. Future
proofing could require additional investment from the landlord in
the short term but, as with any decent refurb, is the more
cost-effective long term solution.
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