What Does Toothpaste Have To Do With Real Estate?

18 Jul 2022
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The number of different kinds of toothpaste available is staggering. If you were to do your weekly shop online, you would be faced with well over 100 options promising everything from whitening to enamel repair, deep cleaning, germ protection, tartar control, and sensitivity relief.


How do you choose the right one for you?

– Recommendation.

– Always used the same brand.

– Too much red wine.

– Sweet tooth.


What does this have anything to do with Real Estate?

Firstly, to prove a point… we are all unique… we all want a choice, based on our individual needs.

2.5 years in and we are still debating the need for an office.

  • The amount of space we need.
  • How we utilise an office.
  • What does an office look like these days?
  • How often do we need an office?


So let me ask you, how often do you brush your teeth?

The recommendation is 3 times a day.

According to Oral Health Foundation, 2021, 70% of adults brush twice a day 10% have no set routine 68% of UK adults say they could not go a day without brushing their teeth 21% deem it three times more important than exercise.

The office debate continues;

With Boris Johnson commenting how working from home doesn’t work, as he would eat too much cheese and drink too much coffee, to Tescos’ releasing their partnership with IWG on shared coworking space, to Alan Sugar hitting out at ‘lazy’ accountancy firm PWC for giving staff Fridays afternoons off throughout summer as a ‘bloody joke’.

The big four services giant has extended last year’s summer Fridays scheme to June this year after a survey of employees showed a large majority in favour on the grounds of wellbeing and productivity.

The war for talent continues.

Most of us, want a purpose. That purpose is different for everyone. Most of us have to work to put food on the table. Most of us have to brush our teeth, so they don’t fall out. It’s a necessity for our well-being. Even tribes and animals have traditional methods to brush their teeth. We adapt to what our basic needs require.

What is evident is that the future of an office is pivoting from work to people. So what do I mean by this, working from home has been unwelcome for some. Young people wanting to get up the career ladder have lacked the opportunity to learn from others, and have experienced a tough job getting noticed. Those who work in collaboration are missing the spark of creativity from sharing the same space.

Some live in unhappy homes, or without enough space, and some are simply lonely in the absence of the stimulus of work and co-workers.

Many who have tasted the freedom of flexibility and home-working are willing to quit and strike out for a better work-life balance, rather than return to the commute and the rat race.

When I reflect on my working week, the majority of the time I am in the office; however, there are days that I need to flex. From Old Bond Store a coworking members-only environment to my office at Headspace, to Alrebury Cafe with a child play area, for the days I don’t have childcare and to random cafes, restaurants, hotel lobbies, libraries for convenience subject to my working day. I’m more productive as technology has allowed us to flex.

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So, what has been happening locally? Have businesses been downsizing their office footprint, how have they balanced flex working, and do we expect flex working to stay?

We conducted a survey of the local agents across the South Coast and the majority responded that most of the enquiries that they received were due to downsizing their footprint.

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Typically, across the South Coast, the stats have only monitored above 5,000 sq ft, but there have been a number of transactions sub this number.

The reduction of overall size requirement has led to an increase in demand for flexible space and bespoke floor plates. Unfortunately, the cost implications for traditional landlords to subdivide space, install sub-meters and create space that meets the exact occupiers’ requirements do not allow for flexible leases to be entered into without heavy penalties should occupiers operate the lease breaks.

This has resulted in a number of Flex operators entering the South Coast market and offering space as a service, that is not only able to provide bespoke space but flexibility. A number of these transactions are not readily in the public domain, so the take-up figures do not paint a true reflection of the office market.

Each of these operators is offering something unique and providing many businesses, space as a service, which ultimately ticks several key requirements whilst reducing operational needs;

  • Brand
  • CommunityNo alt text provided for this image
  • Events/ team building/ Business development
  • Flexibility
  • Office manager – Compliance – Fire aid, fire warden, printing, purchase of refreshments.
  • Bespoke space – They are able to flex up or down according to their business requirements
  • Fitted out space, including furniture and meeting room space.
  • IT set up / enhanced shared tech equipment
  • Admin support.
  • Gyms.

You typically pay a higher rate per sq ft, as you are paying for flexibility and a much more all-in cumbersome service. Most providers tend to work their space harder – fitting a larger number of desks into a smaller amount of space; 1:40 sq ft for example. So although it could appear £25 per sq ft more expensive you are paying for flexibility, limited setup costs, no deposit on some locations and management of the office is included. You pay a one fee and you benefit from the additional services, which you may have to hire an office manager to undertake.

Many businesses believe, because they have operated a 5,000 sq ft floor plate historically, this is how much they require for a serviced office, resulting in a 26% increase in costs. However, what they sometimes don’t realise, is that they don’t need an area for a kitchen, breakout areas, or meeting rooms as these are all shared in the communal areas, therefore a reduced floor plate is possible.

In terms of office rents across the South Coast, there is a real variety of rent. From £7.50 per sq ft for basic space in rural locations to £28 per sq ft for Grade A, all singing and dancing in well-located properties. Once you add in service charge and rates it could be another £7 – £12 per sq ft and that is without the running costs of the office.

So the question you need to ask yourself is, what are your needs? what do you want to achieve? What is important to note is that your employees are looking for choice, just like how you choose your toothpaste. Ask your colleague what brand of toothpaste they choose and you will notice the disparity within your workforce. Even in our household, we have 3 types, my husband opts for Colgate Whitening, my toddler has baby Colgate and I opt for Original Toothpaste Euthymol.

Season 2 Podcast commences again in July, and we will be diving further into this discussion locally. If you want to be a part of the next Let’s Talk South Coast Podcast, do get in touch.

For now, have a catch-up on Season 1.

About Nella Pang

I left the corporate world in 2020 and launched Omega RE a commercial advisory firm in a pandemic, whilst on maternity. Brave some people would say. 🚀

The pandemic has taught many of us a thing or two, particularly on how we can do business. I support businesses to navigate the complexities of Commercial Real Estate, so they can achieve their business objectives through their Real Estate decisions.

Lease negotiations can be a minefield. Even small mistakes can drive up costs. That’s why I will represent your interests every step of the way, ensuring you receive full value of our experience and market knowledge.

With over 18 years’ experience in the Commercial Property Market having worked for the big corporates Jones Lang LaSalle Limited, BNP Paribas Real Estate and Vail Williams.

I want to be able to share my corporate knowledge with my clients, whilst offering a more personal dedicated commercial advisory service.

Having acted for a wide range of clients from major pension funds to private investors, small businesses and individuals. I love meeting people and I am passionate about adding value to my clients’ business and watching their businesses thrive.

Connect with Nella on LinkedIn

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