Traditionally city centre offices were about maximising the number of people you could fit into them.

Most businesses only wanted to move office if it was into a bigger one as their headcount grew. Downsizing was seen as a last-ditch cost-cutting exercise in the face of financial trouble.

The pandemic ripped up that well-worn rulebook and accelerated the adoption of flexible and remote working patterns.

However, everything happened so fast it wasn’t entirely clear what even the short-term future for office occupancy would look like.

Would employers bring everyone back in full time, or dispense with offices entirely and go fully remote?

The lack of obvious trend meant developers and landlords needed a crystal ball to predict what was going to be required in the office market.

A more established pattern is emerging, and hybrid working is here to stay for most office-based organisations.

This has a direct impact on how much office space is required – and the new rule of thumb is about two thirds of what they occupied previously.

That said, smaller doesn’t necessarily mean cheaper. Despite reducing floorspace most businesses have invested in upgrading their office environment. 

This “flight to quality” has become crucial for many companies as they seek to attract the best talent and meet sustainability goals – and has led to a shortage of Grade A office space in Scotland’s major cities.

Our firm Shepherd and Wedderburn recently relocated its Edinburgh headquarters to the new Haymarket Square development. 

With an “A” Energy Performance Certificate rating, the move is aligned with our commitment to sustainability and the firm’s pledge to be net zero for carbon emissions by 2030.

Its flexible design combined with cutting-edge technology allows us to respond efficiently to clients’ needs and offers a collaborative and ultra-modern hybrid workplace for our colleagues.

Which is vital as young lawyers definitely benefit from time spent in the office learning the ropes from senior colleagues and working in teams with their peers.

That combination of key features underlines the direction of travel for the Scottish office market.

The best way to sum it up? Less is more.