What is Flexible space?
Flexible space typically means workspaces that fall outside of the traditional ‘office’ model. This can be co-working spaces, serviced offices, or liquid space, available on the open market.
Flexible space can be open-plan, but it can also include small, enclosed offices, or even whole floors. It can be managed by specialist operators, individual landlords, partnerships between the two, or in the case of liquid space, a tenant that has the right to sublease part of its office.
Tell me about serviced offices.
Serviced offices are typically more formal and corporate in nature. They tend to house businesses and established teams. Serviced offices usually provide occupants with telephone access, internet, and mail services as part of a monthly package. Some also include access to business equipment like fax machines, copiers, audio-visual equipment, and office furniture. Increasingly, however, we’re seeing new serviced offices adopt concepts and designs commonly associated with co-working, such as communal spaces.
How is co-working different?
There is a greater focus on creating a sense of community in co-working spaces. They prioritise networking and shared resources among tenants, and normally provide more amenities than serviced offices. Co-working spaces often have livelier, more dynamic and interactive environments to encourage innovation, which attract a greater number of entrepreneurs, freelancers, and smaller start-ups.
What are the advantages of co-working or serviced offices?
The amenities provided by operators can assist occupiers in differentiating themselves in a competitive employment market, particularly when it comes to attracting and retaining young talent. Being part of a community gives occupiers access to an established network of digital technology and apps, and can create cross-selling opportunities between businesses within an operator’s ‘eco-system.’
The short-term contracts associated with these spaces also offer headcount flexibility for project or sales teams that are looking to expand or consolidate their operations, not to mention reduced upfront capital expenditure and reduced deposits.
What are the implications and opportunities for MNCs looking to embrace flexible space?
Our research suggests that MNCs in Asia Pacific are taking their first steps in exploring the benefits of flexible space to their businesses. Inspired by the amenities offered by co-working providers, some larger companies are looking to create their own modern workspaces that can meet the specific needs of their staff and clients in terms of design, technology, headcount growth, and more.
Others are choosing to partner with existing operators to house a percentage of their staff at established co-working sites, by taking up a fixed number of desks or creating a small satellite office within a co-working space that can offer staff flexibility on a daily basis.