40% Of Flexible Spaces Not Getting The Basics Right

According to flexible search service Workthere, operators that cover all the basics to a high standard are more likely to keep clients for the longer term.
  • While many flexible spaces attract clients based on perks and freebies, it is the quality of basic essentials such as comfort and cleanliness that matter most.
  • According to flexible search service Workthere, operators that cover all the basics to a high quality are more likely to keep clients for the longer term.
  • “Rather than continually striving for the next best amenity, those that focus on the office itself and make sure workers are comfortable are most likely to prosper.”

According to Workthere’s What Coworkers Want report*, it is not the added extras in this type of office space that will win the war for talent and business, but the fundamentals, with technology (79%), ‘essentials’ (79%), location (64%) and building design (62%) ranking top in terms of importance for staff in coworking spaces across Europe.

However, the serviced office specialist also notes that it is these areas that are also seeing the largest discord in terms of satisfaction levels, with only 62% content with their workplace technology and just 60% of flexible office workers satisfied with the ‘essentials’.  

The report reveals that it is the factors within these categories that both employers and, indeed, providers need to get right over and above anything else in order to keep workers happy. The What Coworkers Want report shows that the particular areas of importance within the ‘essentials’ category are comfort of work area (82%), cleanliness (82%), lighting (80%), air quality (80%), temperature (78%), noise level (78%) and smell (78%). 

Cal Lee, global head of Workthere, comments: “The interesting point here is that, despite there being a perceived popularity around the ‘freebies’ offered within flexible office space such as free food and drink and the luxury of an outside space or roof terrace, it is the core essentials that are ultimately likely to decide whether a coworker stays or goes.

“This is increasingly important, not just for employers, but also for providers given the flexible nature of monthly memberships and lease terms. In a market where we are seeing strong competition resulting in consolidation, getting the fundamentals right in terms of their offer is vital for providers.

“The additional perks and freebies will most likely sell the space to a client, but it’s the basics that will determine whether they stay and for how long. Whilst there are some elements that are more difficult to control or change such as location, things like comfort of work area, Wi-Fi, cleanliness and lighting are things that are more easily controlled and can make a huge difference.”

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With office design having an impact on many of the essential factors, Workthere highlights that this should be an area of focus for those providing coworking spaces. It is particularly important given that 40% of those working in coworking spaces think that their office design increases their productivity. 

Workthere’s research also shows that almost half (44%) of flexible office workers are planning to stay with their current employer for less than five years, demonstrating the growing importance for employers and providers to get it right in terms of the space they are providing in order to attract and retain workers.

Jessica Alderson, global research analyst for Workthere, says: “The workplace can often be the deciding factor for someone choosing whether to stay with their current employer or accepting a new position. It is therefore crucial for employers to create a working environment that is appealing in the short and long term in order to attract and retain talent, respectively. 

“Overall, it is important to remember that in an increasingly competitive arena, where the chase for talent is intensifying, rather than continually striving for the next best amenity, those that focus on the office itself and make sure workers are comfortable are most likely to prosper.”

Download the full report here

*The What Coworkers Want report is based on a survey conducted by Savills and undertaken by YouGov between March and April 2019, which surveyed over 11,000 office-based employees based in France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK, with 1,000 workers surveyed in each country. 1,874 respondents of the overall total consider their main workplace to be either a serviced or coworking office, and we included both of these groups in the flexible office category. Workers were questioned on various office-related topics, including asking their views, in terms of importance and satisfaction, on 48 office features.

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