AN OFFICE rental company says it has seen record levels of interest in Bournemouth as research suggests many businesses are planning to move headquarters.

Bourne Space operates four serviced office buildings in the town centre and had its highest ever number of enquiries in May.

Visits to its website trebled compared with February, it said.

A recent survey by law firm Gowling WLG and the British Property Federation found that almost half of mid to large sized companies were planning to move headquarters in the next three years.

Just three per cent were moving to remote working full-time in the wake of the pandemic.

Sarah Munro, head of Bourne Space, said: “We’ve been incredibly busy since the winter lockdown lifting began in March and May was the busiest month we’ve had in terms of enquiries and new members moving into our offices.

“Many of the companies coming to us are looking for a way to combine remote working with the benefits that come with face-to-face time in an office environment.

“So, we’re seeing companies that are currently renting large offices downsizing or looking to hire regular meeting space for staff to get together for development and as a benefit to their mental health.

“But we’re also having companies approach us because they’re looking for more space or better facilities for their staff, who have been forced to work from home for such a long period of time.

“Across the board, we’re seeing a real shift in demand towards serviced offices as companies look for convenience and flexibility for their staff.”

Eighty-four per cent of respondents in the Gowling WLG survey viewed serviced offices as a ‘viable option’ and were either already using them or considering moving to one in the near future.

Authors Dan Gwilliam and Felicity Lindsay, of Gowling WLG, said: “The pandemic has accelerated the pace of change, literally forcing companies and their employees out of their offices and into their homes during successive lockdowns.

“Decision makers at office occupiers will start looking for office space which is flexible and able to adapt to meet their changing needs, potentially as soon as the end of the summer.”

Bourne Space operates three serviced office buildings on Exeter Park Road in Bournemouth – Bourne Park, Bourne Villa and Bourne Gardens – as well as Bourne House on Hinton Road.