Explore the latest projects from the UK’s commercial interiors industry, featuring the best of workspace, hospitality, residential and public sectors.

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Design District offers On/Off leasing for a post-Covid London

The old ways of doing things are being reinvented. Could the ‘On/Off office’ be the future of flexible working?

06/07/2020 2 min read
Helen Arvanitakis, Director, Design District. Photograph by Taran Wilkhu.

Responding to the disruptions of coronavirus and lockdown’s effect on work culture, Design District director Helen Arvanitakis argues that many businesses may not be able to return to the status quo of full-time office leasing when restrictions are lifted – and others might not need to.

To accommodate such businesses, London Design District is pioneering a new approach to leasing space in line with the now-proven viability of flexible working, and the growing demand for a new relationship with office spaces and landlords. Alongside its full-time studio and whole-building rental options, the creative quarter is proposing to introduce an innovative new leasing model, built on flexibility.

From the beginning of the project, the Design District team knew that if they were going to develop a purpose-built workplace for the creative industries, it would need to be responsive to the particular needs of the sector. This inherent flexibility has enabled the project to adapt quickly to the demands of our new post-Covid reality.

Aiming to make everything as convenient and flexible as possible, the Design District has developed an innovative new leasing concept: ‘the On/Off office’. This gives tenants options to rent office space for one to three days a week, with the benefit of an ‘active’ landlord on call to respond quickly with assistance and advice. ‘On’ when you need it; ‘off’ when you don’t.

‘There have been changes to our daily routines: yoga at midday, perfecting the home-brewed coffee, wearing slippers to client meetings… These tiny adjustments on an individual level are just a small part of a larger paradigm shift for UK businesses as a whole,’ comments Helen Arvanitakis, Director, Design District. ‘As they look to what the future holds for them, a growing number are realising the current model of office culture and leasing isn’t fit for purpose, and discovering that a new way is possible.’

Businesses and individuals will still have access to full-time workspace rental if they choose, but this approach offers potential ‘On/Off’ tenants physical access to the Design District’s buzzing creative community as well as the freedom to embrace the possibilities of the new working paradigm.

London Design District opening 2021

In response to the varied disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Design District team has rescheduled the official opening of the district to 2021. This is to ensure that the construction is completed to the highest of standards as well as allowing sufficient provision for social distancing and safety that can be implemented in each workspace. A phased programme of opening will begin next year, with tenant businesses moving into their workspaces in controlled stages.

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