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The changing face of town centres

The changing face of town centres

The impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our town centres has been profound. While its effects on the High Street have been well-documented, other town centre businesses have also had to adapt to this rapidly changing landscape.

Hannah Hickman, Centre Manager at the Mansfield Innovation Centre, explains…

“There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has hit business hard. Nearly every industry and sector has been affected.

“However, while the economy is likely to feel the effects of coronavirus for a long-time, in the post-lockdown landscape, many town centre businesses are restarting their operations and getting to grips with a new reality.

“Prior to lockdown, we had already started to witness several businesses shifting away from traditional offices, in favour of more flexible workspace.  There was a growing desire among larger businesses, fast-growing start-ups and long-established SMEs alike for high-quality workspace that could be tailored to their needs.  Then, during lockdown, many companies were forced to embrace home and remote working and woke up to the possibilities and potential efficiencies that flexible working can bring.

“With the flexible working genie out of the bottle, more firms are emerging from lockdown with a renewed appetite for it.

“This is where innovation centres like Mansfield Innovation Centre have a crucial role to play, by supporting the ever-changing needs of businesses as they return to the workplace.  

“As a business hub that is close to the town centre, we serve businesses of all sizes and from a variety of sectors, with a flexible package of support measures on offer.

“Businesses are now, more so than ever before, looking for flexibility and adaptability. They don’t want to be tied-in to long-term leases for their offices or workspace. They are instead looking for flexible contracts in places which enable them to quickly scale their workspace up or down to meet their changing requirements.

“We believe demand for hot-desking and coworking space will continue to rise as more businesses allow their staff to work partially from home, renting meeting or office space only as required.  

“Many businesses also recognise the added value of dedicated business support and mentoring, to help them realise their ambitions and respond quickly to change. 

“And of course, it’s crucial that any workspace in future is COVID-secure.

“Business venues which can offer all of this, under one roof, will play a key role in helping businesses to adapt their strategies, manage change and create the jobs and growth the economy needs to recover from Covid-19.

“They will become a firm fixture in the town centres of the future.”

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