Flexible Office Space | Why & How

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Why Is Flexible Office Space On The Rise?

For end-users, flexibility has become a top priority with increasing consistency. The way we see it, the ability to work where and how you want enables comfort. Being more comfortable while you work has been shown to increase productivity. Thus, flexible office space enables individuals to be more productive.

Flexible Office Space for Employees

recent survey conducted by ManpowerGroup Solutions found 63% of prospective employees don’t feel sitting at their desk increases their ability to get work done. Moreover, 45% of respondents named flexibility as a key motivator for finding a new job. A 2015 study by EY of 10,000 employees ranked flexibility second only to a competitive salary. In fact, according to LinkedIn & Harris 2018, 34% of professionals would take a 10 percent pay-cut for the ability to design their own work schedule.

“Modern employees want professional success — but not at the exclusion of autonomy and flexibility.”

Gallup 2017.
flexible office space | coworking | hot desking | remote work

Flexible Office Space for CRE

For employers or real estate owners, flexible office space means more cost-effective utilization. Prospective tenants see a built-in network, better offerings and more ways to offer flexibility. Property values rise in correlation with occupancy, compounded by increased revenue per square foot. And, depending on structure, “operators” can offset real estate costs using that incremental revenue.

flexible office space | coworking | hot desking | remote work

“This means that a building owners priority will no longer revolve around how many people an employer can fit within a space. In a move away from pure real estate transactions, owners will increasingly need to think hard about what their buildings can offer to create environments that will enhance a company’s business and create a great experience for workers.”

– Philippe Paré, Principal at Gensler

How To Leverage Flexible Office Space

In a growing company, it’s hard to predict space needs even a few years out. With the ability to make decisions based on dynamic needs, flexible office space enables organizations to scale up or down without incurring significant overhead. Here are a few popular applications of flexible office space.

Hot-Desking

Hot-desking refers to the practice of providing unassigned workspaces. These workspaces are typically on a first-come-first-serve basis or managed by a reservation system. Hot-desking is a boon to organizations experiencing the rise of remote work firsthand. With employees out of office for the majority of their working hours, it isn’t cost-effective to designate a full-time workspace for each person. This application of flexible office space enables fuller utilization of commercial real estate in a “JIT”-manner.

The concept of hyper-churning occupancy jives with the idea of a more dynamic workplace experience, enabling spontaneous innovation as normally-isolated employees interact with their colleagues. However, the execution of effective hot-desking space is contingent on thorough research of behaviors and adjacency. Making appropriate arrangements pertaining to each team’s routine responsibilities and environmental factors in the immediate environment is paramount.

flexible office space | coworking | hot desking | remote work
Office space is ranked as the second-highest expense for organizations, and up to 40% of workspace is vacant at any given time in traditional office layouts.

Coworking

Coworking is a booming industry of real estate “operators” that purvey workspace and amenities to short-term tenants. A years’ worth of coworking in Hong Kong and London cost US$7,607 and US$11,931, respectively. Conventional office space leases in the same cities each cost over US$22,000 annually. This means that, by planning effectively, organizations can save up to 73% in metropolitan areas with flexible office space compared to traditional leases.

The meteoric rise of coworking can be attributed to an impasse between primary stakeholders and end-users. Commercial real estate, with owners traditionally unwilling to offer flexibility in leases, have become a less attractive investment to growing organizations. And, in line with the idea that flexibility enables greater productivity, corporate spaces with less-than-flexible policies are perceived as less valuable. Thus, the gig economy is willing to pay a premium on workspace freedom.

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Organizations can save up to 73% in metropolitan areas with flexible office space compared to traditional leases.

Remote Work

Remote work entails working outside of a company’s designated office space at some routine frequency. Half of the US workforce has jobs in which at least partial telework is possible, with at least 20% of the workforce working remotely at some frequency. Deloitte predicts that employees working from home at least once a month will make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025.

While this practice has to do more with flexible scheduling than physical space, the latter is still a pertinent concern. Whether remote employees work from home or are on the road most of the week, it’s a must to facilitate a connected, productive workspace. And, since casual interactions and collaboration don’t occur as frequently in the course of remote work, the importance of providing a “home base” is doubled.

flexible office space | coworking | hot desking | remote work
Deloitte predicts that employees working from home at least once a month will make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025.

Thanks for Reading!

In short, flexible office space looks as if it’s on a heightening trajectory. Being responsive to employees’ need to stay responsive will afford organizations incremental retention, wellbeing, etc. Behavior is the primary barometer of workplace culture, which you have the opportunity to influence. Want to have a conversation about flexible office space, whatever that means for you? Learn more about how we’re here to make your workspace work as hard as you do and, if you’re so inclined, tell us about your project!