Posted by OBI

Posted 16 July, 2019 OBI BLOG

In 2016, we released a blog with a strong message to landlords: ‘Adapt or Die’. The blog was intended to act as a warning, something to educate non-believers in the world of property that landlords would need to keep their eye on competitors with a threat to the old way of doing things: those delivering flexible workspace options.

We’d recognised from our constant dialogue with clients, that occupiers wanted significantly more from their workspaces and in the way deals were done for those spaces – that companies were expected to make big commitments, but without being given flexible options in relation to lease terms – what happens if we grow? What happens if we need to house a short-term project team?

In “Adapt or Die” we talked about the importance of work-life balance, bringing buildings to life with collaborative ecosystems, and the way big business in US and the Far East were seeing the benefits of putting creative parts of the business into creative environments.

Because the origins of this came with tech and digital occupiers – disruptors by nature, perhaps more questioning of the accepted way things are done – taking space with managed workspace operators that were prepared to offer what they wanted. Now we’re seeing large corporates turning to more flexible solutions.

It’s now become commonplace for major financial institutions and other multinationals to sign up for a certain number of desks in a managed workspace – when HSBC signed up for 1,000 desks with WeWork in Waterloo, London in June, the only notable aspect was the scale of the arrangement.

In Manchester alone we have seen the likes of KPMG, Expedia, Moonpig, Lloyds and many more take desks at managed workspaces.

For businesses, it’s a positive boon to have the option on the table, – for example, setting up a short-term project team, at one time you’d have to reconfigure things, manage temporary reshuffles of office furniture or haggle with the landlord, his agent and who knows who else for an extra half-floor – and that’s before you factor in connecting them – now you can pretty much plug and paly at whichever location suits you best.

So, with Brexit looming are we going to see a surge in more businesses looking for flexible solutions? It is evident that both uncertainty and flexibility go hand in hand – it is our prediction that more and more businesses will look to those options with more fluidity in lease lengths.

What they’ll find in Manchester is a steadily increasing range of options within the flexible sphere, both from newcomers to the city such as Huckletree, and established, intuitive landlords such as Bruntwood.

In 2016s blog, we said: “There is a huge demand for flexible working space in Manchester, which as a famously entrepreneurial city appears perfect for this type of initiative – and in a time of economic uncertainty, flexible working space carries even more prominence.” That holds true to this day.

If your business is looking for flexible solutions – whether that be conventional spaces or managed workspace – get in touch with OBI.