Real estate software company Yardi gathered insight from various flexible workspace experts to understand how operators are adjusting to accommodate the post-pandemic era.
One key measurement that leaders are taking note of during this time is occupancy levels. According to Niki Fuchs, managing director of Office Space in Town, competitors within the industry are saying they are back to pre-pandemic desk levels.
“We obviously did a huge amount of discounting during the pandemic, but we don’t need to discount anymore, so desk rates are back up to where they were, and I’m sure in some areas they’ve probably topped over,” said Fuchs.
Other experts estimate that demand for flexible offices has also expanded in the suburbs as more people shift to hybrid work arrangements and move away from city centers. According to John Williams, chief marketing officer of The Instant Group, suburban markets are likely “above pre-pandemic levels.”
In terms of demand itself, operators have observed an increase in inquiries and uptake from corporates and other large companies. In the beginning, flexible offices were commonly viewed as a cheaper option for startups and small businesses to provide them with access to a professional work setting.
However, these perks have become increasingly enticing for big enterprises too. With teams becoming distributed, professionals have discovered new, optimal work styles that best suit them.
“They’re not now thinking ‘we’ve got four walls, we’ve got 100 desks and people will come because they’ve got to come, there’s no other choice,’” said Jack Williamson, head of UK at Workthere. “Now they’ve got to think ‘we’ve got four walls, but we might only want 50 desks and we also need some sofas and some breakout areas and some phone booths, because people are using the space differently.’”