"This year is going to be astonishing!"
So says Justin Urquhart-Stewart – renowned financial expert, regular speaker at BCA Conference and a long-term friend to the flexible workspace industry. Indeed following the EU Referendum, the Prime Minister’s departure, the collapse of the Labour Party and the looming U.S. Election, we have already had our fair share of shocks and surprises – and we’re barely into the third quarter.
So what does all this mean for the global economy and the UK flexible workspace industry?
In the latest video interview from Landmark Plc, Richard Gill is joined by Justin Urquhart-Stewart to discuss all things Brexit. As expected, it’s a fascinating interview with valuable insights and plenty of positivity – and whichever way you look at it, the UK flexible workspace industry occupies a position of great strength.
4 Key Takeaways
1. Brexit is not necessarily to blame for the commercial property slowdown:
Immediately after the Referendum result, reports began circulating of a slowdown in the property sector. This was linked to the UK’s decision to leave the EU, but not according to Justin: "Our economy is still growing, albeit slower, but it was already slowing beforehand. We saw it slowing in some of the property markets and in some of the property funds. People have blamed that on Brexit. That’s rubbish! It was already occurring some months ago.
"It’s going to take time, we’ve just started a new chapter. We need to keep the confidence going to keep the economy going."
2. Is ‘Brexit’ an opportunity for flexible workspace, or a threat?
"It is a great opportunity," Justin says. This is because, whichever way you look at it, flexible workspace delivers an invaluable service that support businesses regardless of size, age or stature. From setting up a new company to expanding into new territories, business owners will naturally choose flexibility during times of transition – and flexible workspace is even more accessible given its geographical breadth of choice across the United Kingdom.
"This is where flexible office space really comes into its own, and it has proven itself in the past," Justin commented. "I know from my own business, during downturns we’ve been able to use the flexibility of office space to adjust as necessary, both during the weaker times as well as the stronger times."
3. Even the worst-case scenario offers a positive outcome:
"Let’s assume that Brexit turns more negative, that we’re not seeing as much investment coming in. It’s a weaker situation, in which case companies will have to adjust their cost base. They will need to have more flexible office space, they will need to downscale and adjust."
Justin concludes that for the flexible workspace industry, "even the downside is still relatively positive."
In addition there will still be many new businesses coming through, particularly those who are identifying gaps in the market as a result of Britain’s exit from the European Union. As we have seen before, particularly during the 2008 downturn, such times of change will always present new opportunities for those with the vision and attitude to seek them out.
4. Will the U.S. Election wield a bigger impact than Brexit?
Whilst our attention has been largely fixed on European matters, across the pond the U.S. is gearing up to elect a new President. Of course no-one knows which way the Presidential pendulum will swing, but according to Justin, the new leader will have the advantage of a strong economy.
"Don’t underestimate the strength of the American economy at the moment. Even at the end of this growth cycle, it’s still creating more than 200,000 jobs per month. They are in a position where the economy is doing quite well, with good employment, and consumer America is in a better position than ever before."
Presidential choices aside, "America is looking in quite good shape."