The extent of the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis is now becoming clearer, there is no V shaped economic recovery and with the emergence of another strain of the virus, another lockdown, post Brexit adjustments and forecasts of a double-dip recession, there is continuing uncertainty and financial hardship for many.
Many charities have shown that they are adaptable to the most challenging of situations by not only looking at new ways to fundraise and generate income but also considering ways to cut non-essential overheads – the biggest cost in this respect may be property. One thing that COVID has highlighted is that charities are adaptable – working from home is now the norm and after ten successful months, this new way of working is likely to stay with all of us to varying degrees for the future. Yes, we all need face to face time to stimulate ideas, for creativity and motivation but the balance going forward is likely to mean we need less physical office space and more flexible working practices that are adaptable to our changing needs.
We have always advised our clients to ensure their property strategies are up to date but events of last year were not predicted and have meant many charities have seen surplus property and associated burdens arise overnight. Many charity employees are currently operating from home with empty offices in towns and city centres, incurring rents, maintenance and insurance costs which could otherwise be invested into the charity. If you are not already doing so, you need to be giving serious consideration to current and future working practices and your space requirements so that your property works for you, not the other way around. The question is, where do you start.