WHAT CAN TRADITIONAL LANDLORDS LEARN FROM FLEXIBLE EXPERIENCE?

It is not surprising that landlords are increasingly taking note of the potential of the UK flexible workspace sector, with supply continuing to grow by 4% in 2020, despite multiple national lockdowns.

Businesses are starting to see the opportunity to provide greater flexibility to their employees as restrictions begin to ease. This allows them to reduce rent commitments as compared to traditional headquarters and still provide high-quality office spaces.

Traditional property owners are now facing increasing vacancies, falling advertised rents, and the growing threat of ‘grey spaces’ as businesses downsize or sub-let their offices.

Traditional landlords no longer have to provide a space for businesses to build their own spaces. In order to compete in this “new normal”, landlords need to embrace the success factors that made flexible workspace so popular.

Technology, technology and technology

The old mantra of “location, location and location” has been thrown out of fashion in the wake of the pandemic. Lockdown has allowed many people to work remotely for the first-time, breaking the long-held belief that we are dependent on the office.

However, not many people are ready to leave the office.

In fact, moving forward 55% of people would like to split their time between home and the workplace, while 19% would choose to return every day. However, hybrid working is sure to change the business’s needs.

Large corporations have access to all their centres through a network of Flex operators.

Standard Chartered, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, a Japanese telecommunications group, and even Civil Service are some of the latest organizations to announce that they will benefit from this proposition.

The importance of central office locations is diminishing as people can access work space from home and connect with colleagues online. The technology capabilities of the building are far more important. Without a good digital infrastructure, how can disparate workers collaborate effectively?

Tenants will come to you if you are smart

Technology is important for both traditional landlords and flexible workspace operators. In fact, even prior to the pandemic, estimates suggested that 82% of digitally unconnected spaces could become obsolete in the near future, while well-connected buildings rated by WiredScore were able to charge a ‘digital premium’ of as much as 10% on office space in London.

Designing spaces that are people-centric

With up to 75% of workers thought to have suffered from burnout during lockdown, it’s no surprise that worker wellbeing is a now first priority for businesses.

Flexible workspace is a great opportunity for traditional landlords to learn valuable lessons about how to facilitate it. By incorporating dedicated communal areas and breakout spaces into the floor plans, landlords can create a better foundation for people-centric approaches to driving good company culture.

Technology systems such as smart ventilation, motion sensors, and lighting can also help businesses recover from the pandemic.

This post was written by Tara Kintz. Tara is a director at Signature Workspace. Signature Workspace, owned and operated by Cantor Fund Management, offers services and amenities such as private offices, flex space, co-working space, virtual offices, meeting/conference rooms, and more.