Time for the troops to jump back into the office trenches

If a company is going to spend €57.50 a square foot on renting space it is because it will demand that staff show up there

Employers want their troops back in the trenches. A report on Dublin’s office market this week from agents HWBC shows rents have stabilised at an average of €57.50 a square foot and look likely to start rising again this year. Easing restrictions and a “return to the office” are driving this, says the firm.

Also, some big technology beasts are on the prowl for space in the capital. HWBC says it is aware of several mandates from such businesses that are actively looking for Dublin offices. Neither its report nor the accompanying press release names any of them, nor does either say if the prospective tenants are new arrivals or existing tenants looking for extra space.

Yet it hardly matters as either way it shows that the the “great reset” and “hybrid working” are not happening, at least not to the extent foreseen by some.

No business, no matter how large or rich, throws cash at expensive offices that will not house workers. If a company is going to spend €57.50 a square foot on renting space it’s because it will demand that staff show up there. So inevitably the foot soldiers will shortly troop back to their posts.


That should be good news for those building or renting out offices. The business has not suffered to the degree that many predicted, but it was still a tough two years to navigate. Vacancy rates in Dublin are 9.6 per cent, less than half the recession high of 22 per cent-plus, but still significant. Last year’s leasing activity was down 26 per cent on the long-term average.

HWBC says tenants favour buildings that use less energy and thus produce lower carbon emissions. Those features attract a premium, on rent and value. Older offices probably face a retrofit, giving builders and energy services companies an extra boost too.

Hopefully video-conferencing is one business for which all this is bad news. We will never get back the countless hours wasted on pointless Zoom meetings, but we may get to celebrate their demise – with an office party, of course.