Hawksford plan to cut office space by a third

ONE of Jersey’s largest finance firms is planning to reduce its office space by a third, with more staff to work remotely and greater shared-space hot-desking.

Hawksford House. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (30284114)
Hawksford House. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (30284114)

Hawksford, which has been based on the Esplanade for a number of years, plans to make the changes by the summer in the belief that increased flexible and out-of-office working is a trend that is here to stay.

Richard Summerfield, the firm’s chief people officer, said that a recent survey indicated a general preference among staff to work some of the time outside the office once the pandemic was over.

He added that Hawksford had already put plans in motion for radical changes to embrace this trend and create an ‘unrecognisable’ office environment.

‘We are in the process of creating an entirely different workspace and are doing a big project with a number of third parties to entirely redefine the look, the feel and the purposes of our Hawksford offices,’ he said.

‘And in that process, we’re reducing the floor space. We’re taking the future savings on rent and we’re pumping it back into the costs of creating an entirely different office.

Richard Summerfield, chief people officer at Hawksford. Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (30266829)

‘By the summer Hawksford House will have a footprint of about two-thirds of the existing space, but the experience for staff when they go in there will be unrecognisable.

‘We’re going to be creating a mixture of hot desks, agile working spaces and other collaborative zones. We’re going to have an outdoor area that’s going to be completely redesigned for regular use.

‘It will feel to a large extent that you’re in a compilation of a trendy hotel or a good coffee shop, not like you’re coming to an office.’

Phil Dawes, managing director of commercial property specialists D2 Real Estate, said, however, that the office was ‘not dead’.

‘The Channel Islands office market has different dynamics compared to the UK, particularly the large cities,’ he said.

‘We don’t have the long commute and reliance on public transport, so occupiers are keen to return, particularly as training and monitoring staff wellbeing is so much harder while working from home.’

He added: ‘It is also worth bearing in mind the impact on other sectors if we remain “working from home”, particularly town centre retail and food and beverage.

‘With the Government of Jersey talking about building a new 110,000sq-ft office in the centre of St Helier it seems they are committed, which is positive.

‘Although there is undoubtedly a change in the way we will all work going forward, the office is certainly not dead.’

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