How Flexible Can You Go? How to Navigate the Flex Workspace Market in 2021
Flexible workspaces have seen an incredible growth in popularity in recent years and the coronavirus pandemic has brought into sharp focus the need for agility and flexibility when it comes to office space. In this article we explain what flexible workspace is and explore some of the key reasons why large corporations are investing in flexible workspace.
How can workspaces be flexible?
Flexible workspace (often referred to as flexispace or shared office space) is a broad term which has come to encompass a number of different working environments including serviced offices, managed offices, coworking and hot desks. Private offices too are a growing component of flexible workspace.
Flexible office space is “work ready”. You turn up, plug in, and start work. Offices come fully furnished with furniture, utilities, IT infrastructure, security and management supplied. Flexible office space is available to move in next day and offers maximum flexibility, with contracts typically ranging from one month to two years. There is no up-front capital expenditure and as far as possible, all costs are wrapped into one all-inclusive monthly invoice.
Flexible workspaces provide collaborative environments with an emphasis on well-being and creative productivity. They are great for growing businesses who want maximum flexibility, short- or medium-term solutions, great facilities and simple cost control.
The four types of office space - what is what?
The privacy of Serviced office spaces
It’s a popular misconception that you cannot have a private office in a flexible workspace. You can! Businesses can choose to take private office space within a flexible office building with confidence that confidentiality, security and privacy will be maintained. Companies occupying private office space in flexible offices can benefit from the shared facilities and amenities provided if they choose and enjoy the flexible terms that a flexspace agreement offers.
Two definitions – one meaning
The terms serviced office and coworking have become interchangeable and are often used to describe essentially the same thing – a flexible workspace. In serviced workspaces and coworking environments all essential services are provided. Contract lengths are shorter than traditional leases and the terms allow for easy upsizing, downsizing, or exit.
When would you need a hot desk?
Another flexible workspace alternative is a hot desk. A hot desk is a term which describes the use of non-allocated workstations. These workspaces can be used by any employee, from any department or level, on any given day. Within a flexible workspace environment, you can choose a dedicated hot desk, (a specific workstation) or a desk earmarked for shared use. In this case the worker occupies any free hot desk available on the day
Something borrowed, something new – the hybrid workspace of today – managed workspaces
Managed workspaces are a blend of traditional office space and serviced office facilities. This can provide businesses with the security of a traditional lease and the flexibility and features of a serviced office. Occupiers typically secure the space for six months to five years but are free from the onerous obligations of a traditional lease. A managed solution can deliver an individually designed and branded workspace with a package of services tailored to your business needs. Managed office solutions appeal to SMEs and larger businesses who desire more flexibility than a traditional lease can offer.
Large corporations are already taking on flexible workspaces – why aren’t you?
Staff wellness and productivity are two key trends driving growth and diversity in today’s flexible workspace sector and big businesses are taking full advantage.
Some of the world’s largest corporations have recognized the benefits of flexible workspace and have taken advantage of the opportunity, committing millions of square feet to flexible space over the last decade.
Supply of flexible space is increasing rapidly. In fact, flexible space forecasts for both Europe and the US suggest momentum is building on both sides of the Atlantic. Industry estimates predict that the continued shift towards flexible workspace and shared amenity spaces are projected to account for approximately 30% of the global office market by 2030. Flexible workspaces in the USA alone grew 20% year on year in 2017 with over 27 million square feet available. The top three city locations; New York, Chicago and Atlanta, each offered more than 2 Million square feet of flexible space.
"more operators, more locations, more space... more choice"
The number of operators of flexible working space are at an all-time high, providing more space at more locations than ever before. Conventional landlords are now entering the market joining the established players in this growing sector. This provides customers with more choice and greatly widens the appeal of flexible office space to large corporations.
Ten key reasons you need a flexible workspace!
1. Preserve capital and reduce your overheads
Flexible workspaces allow all companies, big and small, to save money, provided they choose the right space. Companies can avoid capital outlay and make substantial savings on office rental and overheads. Richard Smith, CEO, Office Freedom commented “In many cases, looking at the entire cost-benefit equation, flexible, serviced solutions are often more affordable than leases and involve a lot less stress before, during and after a business takes up a space.”
2. Get to your market - fast
Fast access to key markets is a primary concern for businesses. Flexible workspaces provide fast and easy access to the resources and talent required to capitalise on business opportunities anywhere in the world.
3. Contract flexibility and access to new talent
The transient nature of the fast growing “gig-economy” has fuelled the need for short-term agreements and contractual flexibility. Flexible office spaces provide corporations with easy access to innovative ideas. Flexspaces tend to thrive on collaboration and social interaction and also attract start-ups with ground-breaking ideas and the newest talent.
4. Make your own mark in a flexible workspace
Today’s flexible workspaces are contemporary and creative spaces. Gone are the days of mundane, dated office space. Corporations welcome the fact that the majority of flexible office spaces now provide un-branded, self-contained and private space they can make their own.
5. Happier staff and better hires
Large corporations know the positive benefits of great workspaces on staff and their productivity. Corporations know that the working environment is also a key factor for recruitment and retention.
6. Customise your workspace to suit your needs
The choice in types of office space for large companies is very wide, from managed offices to coworking spaces. Most spaces can be configured and customised to meet your business requirements.
7. Move-in in double quick time
Companies can move immediately into furnished, internet and telephone ready space. License agreements are usually 1-3 pages long and can be signed very quickly – legal costs are either not applicable or nominal.
8. Upsize or downsize with ease
In an unpredictable world, uncertainty demands flexibility. Flexible office space enables large corporations to upsize or downsize at short notice, without having to relocate.
9. Rent for a month, six months, a year or more
Flexible workspace may be hired for any period from a day to several years. Whether it’s office space, meeting rooms, virtual offices, day offices or business continuity/disaster recovery workspace, corporations are choosing flexible office spaces on flexible terms.
10. Feel great in your workspace
Flex office buildings have many amenities and staff friendly features such as coffee shop style breakout areas. They promote employee well-being and happy employees lead to increased productivity.