Loss of revenue, reduced cash flow and rising expenditure stemming from impacts of the coronavirus pandemic are pushing businesses, especially small-scale ones, to move out of bigger office spaces into smaller ones as financial constraints are limiting their ability to pay the high rental cost.
Some of the businesses which interacted with the B&FT said the pandemic has had a significant impact on their cash flow, making it difficult to sustain residing in plush office spaces in the capital, given how expensive they are. Hence, they have adopted remote working and shift systems in order to accommodate their workers and cut down on expenditure to remain in business.
A graphic design business owner, who wants to be known only as Mr. Antwi, explained that prior to the pandemic he operated from a five-room office space; but as the pandemic struck, he’s had to move his business into a two-room office space and ask his staff to work from home in order to reduce cost.
“I don’t think we can afford to pay what we have been paying in the last couple of years, so we have had to move to a smaller space and have our staff run a shift system – which has in turn helped us to be more cost-efficient and productive. Many businesses have had to shut down because of the pandemic; but for a business like mine, if staying afloat means I must work from a smaller office space, why not,” he said.
A multimedia business owner at Connect Link, Kojo Kesse, also told the B&FT he is considering moving to a smaller space and running a shift system or let some of his staff work from home, as he cannot afford his current monthly rent.
“When the pandemic hit us and business was slow, many of us had to resort to remote working. That really helped us, because we can’t afford to pay high charges for rent. Now we have to find ways of managing the situation; we either move to a cheaper location or run a shift system.
“In searching for space, the cheapest we have encountered is US$300 per month. I may need to have my staff continue remote working for a while till I can find something that can suit the company’s pockets,” he said.
However, for someone like Bridgette Ansah – a communications personnel at Transbyte Technology Limited, she maintains that the nature of some companies’ work will make it impossible to allow workers to work from home; hence, owners of office spaces should consider the difficulties companies are facing and reduce rent charges so they can remain in business.
“Most organisations are adopting the shift system to help slow down spread of the virus, and smaller office spaces are being sought by companies. I know of companies that worked from huge office spaces and have now moved into smaller ones to mitigate the high cost of running huge office spaces which are being underutilised.
“But not all companies can continue to work from home, and some still need office spaces to run their services. So, if the cost of rent is reduced many people will rush for offices spaces; which will in turn boost the real estate sector and also help many businesses as well,” she said.