What Corporate Occupiers Want From Flexible Workspace Providers

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New research reveals that most companies, once they adopt flexible workspaces, rarely go back to a conventional space as a sole option.
  • The greatest value to companies that use flexible workspace is the ability to assign people to these spaces at short notice
  • Most companies, once they adopt flexible workspaces, rarely go back to a real estate mix that only relies on conventional space
  • Corporate users see room for improvement with a better approach to workspace design

The Instant Group and HWL recently published a research study that aimed to provide a complete view of the flexible workspace marketplace. Key findings from the study, including the most valuable tech feature for users and how operators can sustain long-term member satisfaction, can be found here.

A significant percentage of the study, however, was dedicated to corporate users. Data from both companies “shows that the number of corporate clients using flexible space is growing significantly, with enquiries for 40+ desks increasing by a quarter every year.”

John Duckworth, Managing Director of The Instant Group for the UK and EMEA, believes that the benefits that lie behind this increased demand from corporates are quite clear: “flexible space gives companies a different route to market and one that is more adaptable in the short-term.” However, the advantages go beyond agility for the company, he notes. Among these additional benefits is “the need to give workers greater choice in location and the tangible improvements in productivity that result by offering them choice around the type of workspace they use.” Some respondents also cited reduced real estate costs as a tangible, major benefit.

If things continue in this way, as the market evolves and more options become available to corporates, the adoption rates of coworking and other types of flexible workspaces will grow at an even faster rate than they are growing now.

Corporate occupiers pose a great growth opportunity for operators, especially considering that “most firms, once they adopt a flexible approach, rarely go back to a real estate mix that is only reliant on conventional space.  In fact, the way this is evolving is heading to a pure workspace-on-demand model, where the entire real estate function is outsourced to a third party, driving value across the business.”

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In order for operators to attract this type of client, however, it is necessary that they understand what corporates want and need from them.

For starters, the research found that corporates don’t rely on a single provider of space. “Nearly half of respondents (45%) look to multiple providers across a geographical region” to assist with their requirements of space. This means that independent operators can also attract corporate members.

Key findings: What corporate occupiers want from workspace providers:

  • Ability to easily add or reduce the amount of space they are using – 72%
  • Ability to assign or re-assign employees at short notice – 62%
  • Flexibility to work with multiple providers in the same geographic region – 45%
  • Flexibility to work with multiple providers in different geographic regions – 41%
  • A single provider that can support all of the company’s needs – 33%

While flexible workspace brand isn’t a key decision-maker, workplace design is. Corporates “see room for improvement with a better approach to workspace design.” And on par with this is the space’s ability to include elements of the corporate brand.

It is crucial that operators address these two core issue in order to broaden their appeal to corporates.

Though “corporates were divided as to whether they view flexible space as a long-term or short-term solution to their portfolio requirements,” they are for the moment revelling in the choice that this nascent market provides. “However, the industry as a whole needs to be (more) attuned to the need for better benchmarking and giving corporate clients more informed basis for decision-making.”