I recently read an interesting Flexible Workspace Study about how flex space is perceived by end users; individuals responsible for procuring office space for their companies; coworking and serviced office providers and landlords. The survey was not huge as the study describes its composition as being “The survey was sent to over 500 people across the industry.”. However, combined with my experiences here at Telsec Business Centres for going on 4 years and as an end user I’d agree with much of what the study shows as the benefits of the workplace environment for workers and organizations.
What is Flexible Workspace or Flex Space?
- Flexible workspace: the term the industry uses to refer to any type of space outside of the conventional lease market.
Identifying the different types of respondents included excellent definitions for coworking; serviced offices; hybrid office providers which are office space providers with a mix of coworking and serviced office space and flexible workspace which includes all of the aforementioned with the common denominator being they provide space outside the “conventional lease” markets. I also appreciated that the study made the distinction between serviced offices and coworking as being that serviced offices charge based on desk usage and value added services and coworking is a monthly membership. Most of the descriptions of coworking that include other characteristics are not an accurate evaluation of the networking and collaborating opportunities in a serviced office environment.
Flexible Workspace as a Workplace: Perception by End Users
The growth and mainstreaming of flexible workspace is fuelled by a changing perception by businesses, workers and commercial real estate interests of how office space is procured and utilized. The flexibility in utilization means that businesses pay for only what they use in a given period eliminating the need to anticipate future needs. Increasingly workers want to decide where and when they work! Respondents to the study believed that flexible workspace provided a variety of environments that suit different working modes that positively impact user engagement levels.
Flexible Workspace as a Workplace: Perception by Corporate Customers
Corporate growing adoption and therefore the perception of flexible workspace has been evolving for years as corporate users have come to understand and accommodate the changing wants and needs of their workers. The evolution of corporate users to flex space is accelerating as they recognize the new choices available to them for arranging and management of workplace space.
Flexible Workspace as a Workplace: Benefits to End Users
In the study they cited the following as the benefits of flexible workspace identified by end users:
- Flexibility around how they work
- More professional networks
- Business opportunities
- Higher feeling of energy at work
Flexible Workspace as a Workplace: Benefits to Corporate Customers
The study included the following benefits cited by businesses and corporate clients:
- Flexibility for employees
- More flexible real estate costs
- Reduced real estate costs
- Greater work productivity
- Improved work setting choice
The benefits to both employees/end users and large corporate businesses have the potential to cause a sea change in the way large corporations will manage and choose their real estate holdings and needs. The source of the tailwind for this change is employees wanting a more flexible schedule and a workplace environment that encourages and facilitates collaboration.