With the North East office market coming off the back of its most successful year of lettings on record, we spoke to HyHubs Managing Director Charlie Hoult about what’s next for the growing market and how as a region we must continue to future-proof and innovate within our commercial offerings to ensure steady demand and growth.

Within the North East, the commercial market is very busy. It’s important to remember that we had a full two year period of uncertainty and in addition to this, before the pandemic, there also wasn’t a lot of stock available.

Here at HyHubs, we have three (soon to be four hubs) which are quickly becoming destinations in their own right, particularly our Hoults Yard site. With numerous food and drink offerings, services and attractions available, we’re building real miniature communities around our workspaces and have waiting lists for both our office and commercial use units.

People go to offices because there’s life there. Instead of just going through the motions and offering the standard commercial selling-points, we must think of the overall experience for the individual. They’re not just going to the office to sit at a desk anymore, the pandemic showed us this could easily be done at home, instead they’re heading there to engage in collaborative thinking, handle face-to-face communications and also take advantage of the surrounding facilities, ultimately improving their work life balance and quality.

This is something that’s especially important to consider given the current talent war happening throughout the region. Although businesses are thriving and taking out record-breaking deals for space, recruitment is growing increasingly more difficult. To counteract this, businesses are working to reshape their work cultures to become more attractive with their office-fit outs being a core element of this.

We’ve seen a lot more businesses seeking out expert help over the last year to help transform their old-fashioned office spaces into forward-thinking attractive hubs, which enhance employee experience and ultimately make their business more attractive to new talent.

Another element to think about is also within the industry sectors and growth areas we expect to see within the coming years. Whether that’s the larger multinational corporations looking to rent space and meeting rooms on a more ad-hoc basis, or innovative smaller businesses who are thriving thanks to their use of technology and are looking for regional bases closer to their core teams.

Currently across our HyHubs sites we have a real prominent collection of businesses specialising in building services, from Aarsleff Ground Engineering and Red Engineering to Engie and Oobe, these firms all work to deliver projects on a national and international scale, however they also see the region as a key growth area with future talent to mould.

In the next few years, I also think we’re going to see a lot of big names within the city centre branch out to incorporate smaller collaborative working hubs in smaller popular towns such as Morpeth, Berwick and Hexham. This way, instead of making the commute to the city centre, workers will have the option to visit a closer, welcoming space, again, with the benefit of the surrounding local facilities.

That isn’t to say that this is the end of the city centre. Cities haven’t had their day, they very much still have a prominent place within the region’s office offering. They may be at rock bottom thanks to the effects of online retail and the pandemic, but with investment, leadership, innovation and a collaborative approach with occupiers,  I’m confident our cities can thrive again.

To give an example, you just need to look at the success and transformative nature of Chillingham Road in Heaton, if you can change one area into a renowned foodie space, why can’t we use this experiential and location-based thinking to re-invent our town centres and attract businesses, footfall and further demand for commercial space.

Following an unpredictable two years, we are seeing the region’s office market begin to thrive again. With landmark deals hitting the headlines generating even more interest for our space, it’s crucial that we manage this boom accordingly and continue to future-proof and innovate within our commercial property offerings.

To learn more about HyHubs, visit the website: https://hyhubs.com