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Business Changing in the UK – what we see as UK wide movers

Posted on 23rd May 2023 by Master Removers

With major factors such as the Covid-19 pandemic, new trading relationships with the EU, and the energy crisis, the UK economy is in a process of change and restructuring. As work habits altered during the pandemic and working from home became normal for many, striking a healthy work/life balance has become a new priority. With the cost-of-living crisis affecting people’s decisions, working from home means a greater reduction in transport costs, leading to a third of people avoiding the office where possible.  There are various environmental, economic, and financial factors that are changing businesses in the UK, and yet the self-storage industry is operating at a record high.  This article looks at ways businesses are adapting in the current times and how it impacts the Master Removers Network in the United Kingdom. 

Working from home 

Employers may be keen to have their workers back in the office more frequently, to build talent and communication, however in the last year many people’s priorities have shifted. 16% of the workforce still works solely from home, with 28% on a hybrid home and office ratio. This pattern is similar worldwide as global trends demonstrate a shift of people working between 1-2 days a week at home.  According to ONS data in the UK, it is mainly Londoners, with high salaries and degrees that are able to operate in a home working situation or with a hybrid relationship.  Obviously, many people in the UK are not able to work from home as they work in the service industry, in healthcare, and within the transportation systems. So, while it is a trend for a sector of society, it can be limited to those with a certain amount of financial freedom. For some, working from home, or from a different location can be a response to growing overheads and forces of inflation.  For example, some small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) adapt to using the home as premises to reduce costs.  

Economic Pressures on SMEs 

SME’s must deal with different pressures that can stunt their development.  Inflation, increased energy prices, and climate change targets can all have a major impact on small businesses. Think builders, florists, coffee shops, small retailers.  As much of retail shifted online in recent years, many traders have found that having smaller premises for dispatch, storage, and delivery is prudent economically. Storage container businesses have increased as people recognize the versatility of having a storage container as a workspace.  Within our Master Removers Network, some of our companies offer workspaces for local SMEs, where they can benefit from a safe, secure unit they can access at any time.  As storage containers are easy to heat and safe, they can be great places to run online supply businesses where deliveries are received and sent and integrity of stock is easily preserved.  Similarly, catering businesses, adventure sports, and artists all find that storage containers can be great places to store their equipment and assist in keeping their outgoings to a minimum. 

Garden Offices and downsizing 

One industry that has been expanding and developing in these years of change is the Garden Office industry.  Garden offices and garden pods have sprung up as a result of the pandemic and the switch to working from home.  In addition to this innovative use of space, many designs incorporate energy efficiency into their prefabricated build, so they are cheap to run and can even achieve carbon-neutral status.  Reducing costs of office premises, travel costs into work, and creating an energy-efficient space to work in out of the garden is an option that makes sense for those that can create the conditions.  Plus, they often do not require planning permission and can be set up swiftly within a few weeks.  All over the UK small bespoke businesses are getting established providing homes with garden offices and garden rooms. Again, using a storage facility can be an excellent addition to this, as businesses can archive their paperwork and store machinery in a storage container, rather than using up valuable space in the garden office. 

Self-storage industry in the UK 

During the Covid pandemic, the self-storage trade was robust and even developed with flexible solutions in difficult times. Deemed an essential service as part of the logistics chain, it assisted with both healthcare resources and food resources.  Plus, the stamp duty holiday and the race for space prompted a lot of movement in the housing market. Storage as an essential part of a home move also saw an increase in usage for domestic home moves. Occupancy and rental rates of storage facilities are at a record high this year, and the self-storage industry is proving to be a resilient and flexible sector, and as a result, is attracting more investment.  With the development of online inventories and the digitalization of this sector, the flexible usage of storage is bound to continue for domestic use and for businesses and entrepreneurs. 

Removals and storage assisting businesses in the UK 

The Master Removers Group is a network of trusted removals and storage companies that meet stringent quality service requirements and are all approved by the British Association of Removers. While our network spans the country, providing flexible removals and storage solutions in the West Country, Surrey, Bath, and Oxford, some of our London companies specialize in bespoke services for small businesses.  Gentleman & a Van work closely with interior designers in London, with their affiliated Man and Van service and storage facilities. They can provide quality service in handling precious items and works of art, receiving deliveries, registering inventories, and setting up installations at the request of various interior designers. Anthony Ward Thomas, another removals and storage company in London specializes in fine art logistics, handling artisan furniture on a delivery route through Europe, and installing and hanging art at various locations.  Aussie London is a great team for landlords to call on as they have a range of affiliated services for landlords, Airbnb hosts, and property managers.  Flexibility and adaptability are key to their success and evolution within a changing market. There is a growing potential for the removals and storage industry to form innovative business partnerships with other sectors of the industry and to share their services with a wider field. 

Patterns of change in the removals and storage trade

As demonstrated, UK removals and storage is a flexible sector.  While the housing market may cool off, there is still a perennial need for people to move house.  Consider it our nomadic ancestry, plus storage is always helpful for our less nomadic pursuits like renovations and for short-term letting options, which are increasing here in the UK.  While we note that in some areas like Oxford, properties change hands less frequently than in London, there is still scope for businesses to develop aided by the removals and storage trade. Rental markets continue to stay strong, and we have teams all over the country ready to provide swift moves from apartments to houses and back again. Downsizing and upsizing are part of the stages of life, and storage is always helpful when you need a pause in proceedings before commencing the next stage. Although there are a lot of forces in the current economy which are challenging for small businesses and enterprises, we are sure that a flexible and adaptable approach, and collaboration will provide new opportunities now and in the future.