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Guest blog: What is flexible office space and why will it be essential after lockdown?

Henry Burn, Head of Tenant Advisory, HubbleHQ

Nobody could have anticipated how far-reaching the effects of coronavirus would be on pretty much every aspect of our personal and professional lives. The pandemic has opened up questions and debates around a whole variety of topics, and made us think about how we live, socialise, and work in a different light.


One particularly hot topic right now is the workplace. With so many businesses required to work remotely under government guidelines, many are now re-evaluating what they (and their teams) want and need from their office. This, in combination with a widespread need to cut costs, means that businesses must now take the time to assess whether their current workplace strategy is suited to the current economic, social, and professional climate.

That’s why now is the perfect time to consider flexible office space.

First things first, what is flexible office space?

Traditionally, businesses would be required to commit to long leases for 5-10 years. Flexible office space, on the other hand, can be rented for anything from a month to 5 years—enabling businesses to take workspace only for as long as they need. This enables them to grow, shrink, move, and adapt at their own pace, and not be tied down for years to come.

Flexible office space usually comes in the form of serviced offices, which often comes equipped with a wide variety of facilities—from breakout space to gyms to rooftops—and upkeep of the space is usually dealt with by the provider. This takes the burden of fitting out and maintaining the space of your business, so you can get on with what’s important.

Costs are also often wrapped up into one single, monthly fee, reducing the hassle of facilities management and helping cashflow—no more hefty upfront deposits.

Flexible providers include big brands like WeWork or Regus, niche or sector-specific workspaces such as Second Home or Rise, and blank canvases where you can build your own brand.

London’s flexible office industry has quadrupled in the past decade, with businesses of all sizes making the most of its benefits—from startups, to SMEs, to multinational enterprises.

Why will flexible office space be essential after lockdown?

Whilst the industry has been gaining momentum for some time now, the lasting effects of the coronavirus outbreak will mean that it becomes even more necessary in the months and years to come, for four key reasons:

It allows you to be agile in an unpredictable time

With so much uncertainty around what the future holds, many businesses are reluctant to commit to rigid, long-term contracts right now.

Flex space is a low-risk solution for companies looking for a physical workplace. It allows you to take space for as long as you need, without being tied down for years on end. With so many businesses yearning for the ability to stay agile and responsive to the uncertain and changeable climate, the flexibility that the industry offers gives significantly more freedom and autonomy to businesses to react as the economic landscape changes.

Attitudes around work are shifting

This period of remote working has made businesses of all sizes step back and think about their workspace in general. Both employees and employers who have found the experience positive may wish to continue some form of flexible working policy moving forward—potentially changing the amount of office space businesses need on a regular basis.

Having flexibility in your contract—both in this period of transition and in the long-term—will be hugely beneficial; rather than having to take office space now that you’ll be stuck with for the next 10 years, by opting for flex space you can respond quickly to the changing needs and preferences of your team in the most cost-efficient way possible.

The flexible office industry is also reacting and adapting fast to businesses’ new requests. We’re seeing many providers offer innovative new solutions—such as office timeshares, daily or weekly passes, and multi-location access—to better address the needs of their customers in a new era of work.

It can save your business money

By only taking the amount of office space that you need now, and then taking more or less as time goes on, you are far less likely to waste money on space that you don’t need. Shorter contracts allow you to reflect and recalibrate on a much more regular basis, and change your strategy if it’s not working for you—something that is simply not possible with long-term leases.

The huge array of amenities and perks that serviced offices now offer also means that you can give your team access to high-quality facilities for a fraction of the price it would cost you to provide them yourself. This goes a long way in attracting and retaining the best talent.

There are also many highly-competitive deals on office space on the market at the moment, meaning that you can secure an attractive rental price now, ready for the future. It’s also possible to sign now but only pay and move in later, once restrictions are lifted—so you don’t waste money on an empty office during lockdown.

It’s all about sociability

With so many businesses likely to adopt a much more flexible approach to working, combining remote working with time in the office, physical environments will become even more essential in cultivating a sense of belonging within teams. And the flex industry is built around sociability, making it easy for businesses to tap into these facilities easily, without the commitment.

From breakout areas to event space, serviced offices enable teams to easily access and reap the benefits of well-designed, community-based surroundings.

Want to know more?

If you’re keen to learn more about flexible offices and how to make the most of them, or want to know more about how HubbleHQ can help you with your workspace strategy right now, you can book a call with our expert advisory team.

We’ve already helped over 12,000 businesses find flex space to suit their needs, including Oddbox, Trustpilot, and PwC, and we can advise you on the best approach for your business, too. Plus, the whole service is free—from start-to-finish.

Find your new flexible office now.

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