The rise of flexible workspace
Serviced offices experienced a record year of growth in terms of popularity and investment last year. The total number of centres offering flexible workspace grew by 11 per cent across the country in 2015/6, and the UK remains the largest and most mature serviced office market globally, having grown by 31 per cent in total since 2008.
Flexible workspace has earned its position as an attractive sub-sector within the commercial real estate market. Although still somewhat undervalued, it has recently emerged as a distinct asset class for investors. It’s success is due in part to the exposure and publicity flexible coworking spaces have garnered, appealing particularly to startups in the creative and tech industries.
It’s not just startups and SMEs getting on board with flexible workspace. Larger organisations are making the switch, enticed by features such as large meeting rooms and client concierge services.
What is a flexible workspace?
Flexible workspace is the umbrella term for offices that operate on flexible terms and have a wide range of services and perks included. They are different to traditional ‘leased’ workspaces in the sense that everything to do with the running and maintenance of the building is managed by the office provider, so all occupiers have to focus on is the success of their business.
Why is flexible workspace proving so popular?
In an unstable economic climate, people don’t want to risk committing to a lease of three to five years. Instead, businesses are looking to minimise risk buy keeping their options open. Flexible workspace comes with flexible terms. In many cases, you can rent office space for as little as a month, renewing on a rolling basis. This is an invaluable plus for companies looking to scale up or down in the short to medium term.
Flexible workspaces are designed in a way that promotes productivity, professionalism and, in many cases, collaboration. In fact, many people owe the growth of their business to flexible workspaces, like Nikolay Piriankov of Taylor and Hart:
“We've grown our team from 2 people to 16 at an affordable cost and with the flexibility to grow and sometimes briefly decline without huge commitments to changing leases and without the inconvenience of changing offices several times.”
Serviced offices like this one in Southwark, London, are design-led and promote wellbeing.
How to find flexible workspace
Serviced offices, coworking spaces and accelerators are opening at record rates. Popular flexible workspace veterans and pioneers had an excellent year in 2016 and continue to grow in 2017. WeWork, for instance, had 12 new office openings and added over 9,300 members in 8 cities across three countries, all in February alone.
Large corporations are recognising the value of flexible workspace in terms of investment and business growth potential. Consumer products multinational, Unilever, announced last month that it has opened a regional coworking space called LEVEL3 for startups and entrepreneurs, to nurture innovation and create new business partnerships down the line.
With so much change and choice, it can be difficult to know where to look for a flexible workspace. That’s where workspace consultancies like Search Office Space come into play. We list the entire serviced office and coworking market in one place- our website.
People looking for space can browse and shortlist options, and a consultant will contact them to arrange viewings and discuss requirements further. Sometimes, people aren’t quite sure what they’re looking for until they’ve spoken to a professional- again, we’re on hand to problem solve and to help define our clients’ requirements. We’re free and experienced: in fact, we’re the longest-running service of our kind in the world.
Start your search today. Give us a call on 0800 740 8080 and we’ll endeavour to find you a perfect workspace on flexible terms.