Posted by Joe Averill

Posted 14 November, 2018 OBI BLOG

The proportion of workspace leased that is classed as “flexible” is, you may have noticed, going through the roof. This raises a few questions:
Is conventional workspace dead? Why the sudden rise of flexible space? Is flexible workspace here to stay? How will flexible space impact the traditional real estate market?
These are things we have to look at as the surge of co-working and managed workspace continues. There may be more questions than answers for now, however one thing is for sure…flexible workspace is on the rise and everybody wants a piece of the action!
Manchester is seeing a significant rise in the arrival of flexible operators, looking to capitalise on an office market increasingly dominated by confident, expansive fast-growth businesses.
In 2017, digital, tech and creative businesses accounted for 35% of all office take up in Manchester city centre – epitomising why WeWork selected Manchester as its first regional target city in the UK.
One of the latest trends we’ve seen is developers join the movement and become operators themselves, staying ahead of the curve. A prime example in Manchester is Allied London’s creation of All Work & Social, which will provide a mixture of co-working, collaboration and event spaces.
If your business is beginning a search for space, I can tell you one thing, you will not be short of flexible/managed workspace operators in the city to have a look at: WeWork, Headspace, Arrive and Spaces are among several to set up locations here: more operators are searching.
But if you are on the search for a new workspace, where would you even start? My advice is… push the “space” itself down your list of priorities and look for the wider value. Here are some key factors to consider:
• Transport – are there good links for clients and talent to access your new space?
• Location/Demographics – understand your audience for recruitment and how your location will impact attraction of talent.
• Price – what incentives/discounts are the operators currently providing?
• Community – some operators are becoming more subjective when considering the types of businesses they want within their orbit, will they benefit and add to the community in place or taking shape? You might want to look at operators that put a lot of store in hosting events, both educational and social.
• National/Global reach – does the operator have other sites across the UK or the world which you can utilise when on business travel?
• Current occupation – who occupies the suites in each building at the moment? What sectors are they in? Are they competitors?
• Building amenity – are there additional meeting rooms? Coffee shops? Other things your people want?
• Scale-up capability – is the landlord/operator the right business for you? Will they frustrate your growth or allow you to prosper?
• Ease of transition – how long will it take to move in? Is the space furnished? Is power and data included? Will you need your own internet?
• Terms – what is the shortest license and longest license length that the operator will provide?

As you can see, it’s far from a case of “all these operators being the same”. It’s necessary to do your due diligence to ensure you have done a comprehensive search in order to ensure the best space for the most value for your team. This is a significant data-gathering exercise, but the level of service on offer now for occupiers is greater, and getting it right should put you on the track to where you want to be.
At OBI we immerse ourselves within this world, collating data so our clients can make effective decisions. We are moving in to a world where data-driven decisions are key, it’s therefore important we are providing the right intelligence!
If you are looking for a move and want to know more about what is on offer, contact our flexible desk team which will happily update you on the latest and greatest….