What the boom in flexible office space could mean for your company

If a business is growing quickly, you can move it to a larger location, or even knock down walls and punch in walls in your existing flexible office.

Andrea Kolokasi, Head of Business Development at Workspace Group explains how flexible and mixed-use space can assist fast-growing businesses.

Over the past few years, entrepreneurs and businesses of all shapes and sizes have begun to realise the wide-ranging benefits that basing themselves in a flexible office space brings. The sharp rise in demand corresponds with an increasing choice of flexible office providers – and the hybrid and co-working space market has surged 17 per cent.

Related: Cool co-working spaces in the UK for your start-up or small business

With the popularity of these offerings only set to grow, and the landscape of how and where we work across the UK becoming ever-more agile, how can businesses make sure they are getting the most out of flexible office spaces, not just for themselves but also for their employees and clients?

There is no ‘one-type’ of business for flexible space

As home to more than 4,000 businesses across London, we know there is no one sector, or ‘type’ of business, that is suited to flexible office space. In fact, at Workspace® we’re seeing demand from a range of companies – from one-man bands to global brands – that understand the benefits of modern and mixed-use office design, a more mobile approach to working, and having access to top-of-the-range facilities and wireless infrastructure. Often, these are businesses that complement each other: by choosing flexible office space, they’re also choosing to be part of a community of companies with differing skillsets and sector expertise, that can draw upon each other for collaboration, advice, and insights.

Flexibility of time and space: the key to keeping momentum

Adaptability is fundamental. Companies that are fast evolving will benefit from using flexible office spaces to scale-up and down in size, quickly and seamlessly, to maintain their business momentum. As such, many providers offer shorter and more versatile lease terms to support tenants whose needs can shift dramatically in the short term.

A good provider will work closely with a business as it develops, to make sure the space is suitable for the changing demands of the company. This could mean moving the customer to a bigger space within a building as the employee base expands or, at Workspace for example, having the option to relocate the growing company within our network of 68 properties. Because we own the buildings, we’re able to knock down walls, punch through floors or create roof terraces for our customers who might be taking on more staff, or looking to change ways of working to open up their space but want to remain in their current location.

For big businesses, with a network of locations across the UK, flexible office space can fill in the gaps or provide London-based working options for employees with long commutes. This is a prime opportunity for business leaders to support their teams by providing access to productive work environments from afar.

Connectivity, creativity and design: putting your own stamp on shared space

Amid the evolution of work in the UK and beyond, we’ve seen that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to office design and set-up simply isn’t enough. Design has become an all-important factor for employee productivity, motivation and wellness to ensure the office space is creative and inspiring.

This has also created the need to provide light and open-plan spaces and establish meeting rooms that will impress key stakeholders, as work environments continue to digress from traditional closed-door cubicles.

Companies need unique offerings to reflect their individuality, and at Workspace we ensure each space can be tailored to businesses’ needs. Whether it’s creating a showroom for your fashion company, a tasting kitchen for your food business or a Virtual Reality suite for a branding agency, businesses looking for office space should have the opportunity to tailor their entire space, ensuring that your company’s branding and ethos is embedded throughout, with unique design elements that are both functional and inspiring for employees.

With health and wellbeing a key consideration for employees, your provider may also offer on-site or nearby facilities such as gyms. Central spaces such as break-out zones and café areas, should be designed to encourage community connectivity within the broader network of your flexible office building. Coupled with skills and learning-based events that are often hosted in these central spaces, shared areas have a real community feel, and become melting pots for new ideas on a daily basis.

Digital connectivity is also a crucial consideration for all businesses with opportunity for growth. Both for ambitious start-ups and well-established businesses, securing a space that is certified by WiredScore with the right infrastructure to deliver reliable internet, broadband speed, and the back-up needed in case of services disruption. At Workspace, we provide intelligent Wi-Fi which means businesses can access their local network anywhere in the building, be it on the roof terrace, in a meeting room or in the cafe. Customers automatically access Wi-Fi across all of our connected properties the moment they enter the building. Such facilities remove the burden of having to solve connectivity issues and allow company leaders to focus their energy on business development.

Putting employees first to help businesses flourish

The announcement of the Government’s £100m Small Medium Enterprises (SME) fund last year signalled a wave of new initiatives to support growing businesses. And, as the workforce continues to move away from traditional ways of working, it is now more important than ever to ensure office environments inspire employees, boost productivity and provide the sort of flexibility that allows companies to grow over the long term.

Further reading on flexible working

Workspace-as-a-service: What is it and how can it benefit your business?

Michael Somerville

Michael Somerville

Michael was senior reporter for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2018 to 2019.

Related Topics

Flexible working