The trend of flexible working space has been infiltrating diverse industries, and companies of all sizes are adopting the trend because of its ability to influence global working trends.
Prevalence of Flexible Office Space
It started with the Covid-19 pandemic, which led businesses to adopt a new way of approaching work. With physical limitations in attending the office, a so-called flex office was the new viable option, even when restrictions have been eased, and some companies have returned to the office. The coworking space industry provided the best possible solution for companies that wanted the flexibility of having a reliable workspace for their employees. It was especially useful during the earlier stages of recovery when restrictions were rapidly changing on a week-by-week basis.
Aside from the pandemic, there were other drivers for the popularity of flexible working space. The increase in remote working is one such example. Remote working can be beneficial for both employers and employees, but it posed a few issues to employees, such as a lack of access to enterprise-grade IT infrastructure and a private space to focus on work. Flexible workspaces addressed these issues perfectly.
Other notable factors that pushed the flexible office space industry ahead are the need to adapt to new technologies, agile work designs, and cost-efficiency.
Demand for Flexible Workspace Market
Since the year 2020, the demand for flex offices has grown steadily. The gradual return of many corporates to the office within these two years has contributed to this rising demand. Corporations are looking to adapt to the new way of working and to facilitate their employees’ need for a new and functional work environment outside of the home.
A usual delusion is that only those companies in the tech industry are going to benefit from the coworking space industry. In reality, companies across various industries see the benefit of using a flex office. This is what drives the demand for coworking spaces in recent years. According to the Flexmark report released by Savills flexible office specialist Workthere last year, 87% of British flexible office operators are profitable. The same trend is true in the Asia Pacific, with 60% of companies saying they have seen a double-digital growth in the flexible office space industry.
The value of flexibility offered by a flex office contributes to its growing demand. The demand is also driving the industry forward as the demand compels service providers to elevate their service offerings to cope with new technologies and better facilities. It’s all to the benefit of the companies and their employees that are utilising these services.
Trends Shaping the Flexible Workspace Industry in 2023
It’s clear: flexible offices are here to stay. But it's how you use them and why that truly makes a difference and impacts your organisational goals. Let’s take a closer look at the top trends that are predicted to shape the future of workspace, as well as how you use a flex office.
1. Workspace driven by functionality
Functionality always comes first when designing a flex office. As more companies are seeking agile working environments, it’s the best example of how functionality drives office design concepts and how various departments work together to ensure that employees stay productive, regardless of how they like to work (individually or in collaboration with a team).
The fact that a flexible workspace can be functional and diverse is exciting. Most people think of open plan workspace as mainly collaborative spaces. However, it adapts to suit the varying roles that an employee fills in the company and the tools that are required to enable them to perform those duties.
2. Workspace driven by technology
Technology will be the focal point of the future of the workspace. It is one of the main drivers of change in the flexible workspace industry.
Many flex office providers pride themselves in providing the latest suite of IT infrastructure and tools that enable businesses to achieve their goals. Many companies are willing to pay more to flex office providers if they can deliver state-of-the-art facilities that empower the business and its employees.
3. On-demand solutions & distributed manpower
This is another one of the top trends that will shape the future of workspace, especially flex office spaces. It is true for companies with a limited capacity and few employees. Leasing and equipping the office space with advanced tech tools and infrastructure would be costly. Therefore, flex spaces provide the best solution for on-demand workforce needs as you can use these spaces for a day or a few months. It depends on the needs of your business and flexibility is beneficial for maximising your company resources.
4. Decentralised locations
A few years ago, service providers of flex offices picked out central locations, such as business centers, as the location of their working spaces. Such a location attracted employers that wanted to make their flexible offices accessible to their employees. Nowadays, besides focusing on central business districts, employers have also started to consider flex offices that are a bit far from the heart or central districts of the major cities, like Melbourne, Sydney, Singapore and Hong Kong. The shift in priority, or so-called decentralization, was in part due to the problems with commutes among employees. Employers are looking for alternatives to office space located in city centres to avoid lengthy commutes for their employees.
The commute factor will play a crucial role in shaping the future of the flexible workspace industry. It prompted service providers to look at decentralised locations as an alternative to address the issue of commuting among employees.
5. Agile workplace
Building an agile work environment is something that has been an influencing factor in flexible office spaces for many years. However, it will take on an even bigger role in 2023 and beyond as an agile workspace provides employees the ability to alter how they use a given workspace. An agile workspace is also beneficial to the company as it gives a minimal financial effect. It is providing us with a glimpse of how the future of work will look like and the meaning of space and design from the work perspective.
The future of workspace will continue to be impacted by two main factors: economic status and the ever-changing work environment. Flexible working spaces are the ideal solution for any of these factors, and businesses of all sizes. These trends provide a glimpse of what the future will be for the industry and how you can maximise them to achieve your business goals and get your company to where you want it to be.