Savills, one of the world’s largest traditional real estate firms, has ventured deeper into the flexible workspace sector with the launch of a new brokerage service.
Workthere is a digital marketing platform for coworking and serviced office space, enabling operators to list any type of workspace that’s available to occupiers under flexible terms.
“Workthere will provide a new and unique offer from Savills in the rapidly expanding flexible office and coworking arena, which is a market that we have not traditionally serviced,” commented Mark Ridley, chief executive of Savills UK and Europe, as reported by Property Week (22nd February 2017).
Although billed as a serviced office search platform for Europe, North America and Asia, it’s still early days for Workthere. Currently the lion’s share of workspace is focused on London with little or no results available outside the UK.
The platform targets both coworking and traditional serviced office companies, ranging from independent operators to large brands. Operators already using the platform are WeWork, i2 Office, BE Offices, Orega, Headspace, The Office Group and London Executive Offices, among others.
In addition to coworking and office space, the platform accepts other types of flexible space including manufacturing, science and laboratory space — providing they are available to businesses on flexible terms.
Cal Lee, head of Workthere, added: “Over the course of the last few years the UK in particular has witnessed considerable growth in the flexible work space sector, with many new entrants coming to the market.
“At the same time, demand for flexible work space continues to grow as more businesses, including start-ups, SMEs and even larger corporate companies, are seeing the benefits of flexible work space over a more traditional lease.”
Putting it in print is one thing; now Savills, one of the largest suppliers of real estate services in the world, is taking a bold step further. The launch of a new platform dedicated to the flexible workspace industry is a sure sign of confidence that can only spell good news for workspace operators; less so for workspace brokers, who now have a muscly new competitor.
Indeed, serviced office brokers have been marketing the industry for decades. The foundation for brokerage sites was largely established in the early 1990s thanks to major players like Serviced Office Space (SOS) and Instant Offices, and continues to provide a significant source of leads and new business for flexible workspace operators.
“Savills’ investment creates higher visibility for our sector, and demonstrates that we are no longer viewed as peripheral,” commented Frank Cottle, Chairman of Alliance Business Centers Network.
“We’re part of the commercial real estate mainstream; their investment in our industry is a huge testimony to that. We’re considered big business now.”