WeWork began its international expansion in 2014. Before then, IWG (the parent company of Regus) dominated the serviced office industry.
We're probably all aware how the flexible office market has unfolded since then into a global mainstay industry worth an estimated $8 billion.
But, then the pandemic kicked in. Growth was reversed in 2020 & 2021. Most serviced office operators (and traditional landlords) secured debt to stay alive.
And now, the flexible office industry has reignited its upward trajectory.
Here are some insightful trends for 2022 (& beyond):
Focus on wellbeing
As you'd imagine, spaces are being designed with wellbeing as the priority. Many buildings are being redeveloped to create more welcoming lobby areas, advanced Covid-safe protocols, improved A/C facilities, more biophillia (plants), etc.
But, we believe that there are still fundamental issues with a great number of office buildings around London & the UK:
1. Lack of natural daylight
Older buildings, or those with poor configuration, fail to bring in excellent natural daylight; High-spec, LED lighting is great, but it may not be enough to satisfy occupiers (tenants), which is one of the highest proprities since the global pandemic.
2. Biophillia needs more attention
Injecting plants or artifical greenary is nice, but it must be expertly designed to reap the (cognitive) benefits. Otherwise, placing a few plants around an office space may fail to actualise the pschological gains; it's best to do it propery.
3. Noise was a top reason, in many surveys, to disencourage people to return to the office.
Our team have daily discussions with clients about their need to private areas, such as phone booths or meeting pods, for confidential conversations. Not enough serviced office or traditional leased buildings offer adequate amenities.
Hybrid meeting tools
Meeting attendees are encouraged to participate, regardless of their digital or physical presence.
Yet, many remote participants aren't included due to many coworking spaces not being well equipped enough to deal with demanding hybrid meetings – either lacking the appropriate technology or the raw meeting space. Over the next year, expect to see more sophisticated audio-visual equipment creep its way into coworking spaces everywhere, from high-resolution wide-angle cameras to state-of-the-art conferencing phones.
As digital meetings and dispersed workforces both become more common, hybrid meetings are set to become an integral part of daily working life.
As hybrid working models continue to become more popular with large corporate businesses, flexible workspaces and coworking spaces both become attractive propositions – allowing them to give their employees the chance to focus in an engaging office atmosphere near their home.
A number of household-name corporates including Facebook, HSBC, and IBM already incorporate flexible workspaces into their operations, and large corporate clients reportedly make up over 25% of WeWork’s membership.
This will be a massive development for operators over the coming years, and could funnel hundreds of thousands of new potential members into the coworking sector to be capitalised on by existing brands.
However, most companies are still not aware of an emerging trend: Managed offices. What are 'Managed offices'? They strike the balance between serviced and traditional leased offices.
Interestingly, enterprise-sized businesses don't necessarily need the flexibility and trends are to secure 3-5 year leases. What is the advantage of a Managed office, compared against a traditional lease?
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