If the latest U.S. and U.K. industry research is to be believed, business centre operators are in for some good news.
And some bad news, too.
First the good. An IbisWorld study throws a very positive light on the U.S. serviced office sector, claiming that the industry experienced high levels of growth from 2011 that’s expected to further increase this year.
IbisWorld projects that the U.S. sector will continue to grow over the five years to 2020, “benefiting from a changing workforce that includes more telecommuters who rely on virtual office spaces and conference rooms”.
It’s good news for U.K. operators too. Last year the sector was valued at a massive £2billion by the BCA. Now Deloitte Real Estate, which described 2014 as an “outstanding” year for the U.K. property market, forecasts that the serviced office market will continue its upward trajectory in 2015.
“Serviced offices will continue to gain in popularity as London and regional cities see not only small businesses but larger corporates choosing flexible space,” said Richard Crane, partner at Deloitte in Cambridge.
He added: “2015 looks set to be another dynamic year. Success will be measured by the ability to navigate through the fast changing world in which we now find ourselves.”
Indeed, as flexible workspace continues to gain traction in both established and emerging markets, Crane’s parting comment is a crucial one for business centre operators all over the world.
Of course, buoyant performance and high demand also brings the threat of higher construction and servicing costs. That’s the bad news – not to mention intense competition from operators expanding into new locations, and new entrants throwing their hat into the ring.
And as the “third place” concept continues to grow, still more competition will come from alternative operators such as hotels, transport hubs, lifestyle brands and sub-letters.
Competition is healthy – it encourages diversity and fosters innovation. But if you’re running a little dry and looking for new ways to ramp up your business centre’s competitive edge this year, take a moment to flick through the OfficingToday archives.
We’ve made a start, and pulled out 5 ideas on how to stand out from the crowd in 2015:
- 1) Illuminate your thinking: Lighting is a major ingredient in the workspace operator’s toolkit. But have you ever wondered how a more contemporary or intuitive lighting system could truly brighten the appeal of your centre? Take a look at some of the cutting-edge lighting trends coming your way, soon.
- 2) Now hear this: In open-plan workspaces, there’s no escaping the dreaded distraction of background chatter. Check out the general attitudes towards noise in the workplace; and then take a look at how real sound innovation could help to revolutionise your business centre.
- 3) Lifestyle perks: The line between home and work life is blurring. But if your centre errs a little too much on the side of a stiff corporate environment, perhaps it’s time to inject a few lifestyle perks.
- 4) Find your niche: Some operators have carved out an amazing niche for their workspaces. From mountain resorts to rockclimbing, solar-driven spaces to cannabis-farming entrepreneurs (yes, you heard right) – it’s all going on in the world of workspace. And we’ve covered it all here on OfficingToday.
- 5) Step outside the box: It’s not unusual to see impressive design in major corporate spaces belonging to the likes of Google and Pixar. And now serviced office operators are picking up the trend too. Look how this beautiful ‘Earth’ themed business centre really brings the space to life; and how essensys’ new London digs reflect the company’s innovative and fun personality. Not forgetting of course the fantastical Alice In Wonderland design at Office Space in Town’s centre on Boundary Row.
With another dynamic year on the cards, it’s time to re-evaluate your strengths and polish your weaknesses to stay competitive in this fast-moving industry. The good news is, there is inspiration everywhere – even down the rabbit hole. Peer outside the box and look around you. Now really is the time to be ‘curiouser and curiouser’.