Global growth awaits flexible office space sector

‘Flexibility becomes the norm as businesses look to build resilience in their real estate portfolio and workplace strategy.’

That is the key takeaway from Colliers’ recently released Global Occupier Outlook 2023 report, which found that two-thirds of corporate occupiers active in EMEA anticipate that up to 20% of their commercial real estate portfolio will move from traditional leases to flex leases within the next five years.

The report – based on Colliers’ analysis and interviews with corporate occupiers - highlights the role of flex space in attracting people into the office, while retaining and attracting talent. A theme that also came to the fore in Shoosmiths’ recent roundtable on the UK’s flexible office space sector through the concept of ‘earning the commute’.

On the adoption of flex, Colliers’ report states:

‘Whether it’s shorter lease terms, usage of on-demand or co-working spaces, or the physical ability to reconfigure a floorplan to adapt to the office’s changing parameters, the ability to adapt – always important – has become paramount.’

The focus on being able to ‘adapt’ is an interesting one. During our discussion, Steven Mew, customer experience and flex director at GPE, said:

“We’ve all been working during the pandemic, whether it be, in our conservatories, at our kitchen table, off the sofa. People want to be able to work in the same way, in the office.

“So, you’ve got to be able to provide that diversity of space.”

While describing the shift to flex space in more evocative terms, Steven’s comments echo the importance of adaptability – in terms of creating flexible spaces that can be adapted to the different ways people want to work, but also through the real estate industry adapting more widely to meet the changing needs of corporate occupiers and their employees.

The Colliers report provides fresh insight into the growth of the international flex market.

Developers, investors and operators in the UK are arguably already leading the way when it comes to best practice and delivering high quality flexible spaces, with data showing that UK flexible workspace locations are achieving record occupancy levels.

As Katie Whell, operations director at Pure Offices, said during our roundtable:

“It’s a key part of the property industry. It’s a key sector.”

Flexibility becomes the norm as businesses look to build resilience in their real estate portfolio and workplace strategy.

Colliers' Global Occupier Outlook 2023: Navigating the Future of Change


This information is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. Please contact us for specific advice on your circumstances. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.



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