Flexible office operators adapt service and value proposition to meet occupier demands.

Whilst the health implications of the COVID-19 pandemic are clear for all to see, the subsequent challenges for businesses and how they will operate, continue to unfold.

In the short period of just six months, working practices have changed tremendously, in-person interaction with colleagues and clients at-best has been limited, and our ability to confidently plan for the long-term has been hampered. These are just a few elements that are prompting a rethink by business leaders as to how the current physical workplace can successfully adapt, whether that is through space, cost, or location. Careful consideration is being given to which are the best options, and increasingly this now includes the flexible office option.

Flexible leasing was once seen as the preserve of start-ups and small businesses. It now transcends businesses of all sizes and sectors. For many firms, it would now be remiss not to entertain the possibility of going down the flexible leasing route. The sector which had been carrying the stigma of previous generations of serviced offices ‘woke up’ and along came a new era of providers, revolutionising the delivery of this product and service, responding to the calls for flexibility in acquiring office space. As we find ourselves at a crossroads with the impact of COVID-19, and as businesses evaluate their property strategy and cost base, flexible leasing is recognised as a mainstream choice, adept at responding to the needs of firms whose requirements are fast changing.

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This stance is rightfully shifting. What many are gradually seeing is the opportunity that the sector has in providing flexibility, now more than ever, from a cost and tenure perspective, but also giving previous time back to senior teams who have been thrust into business survival mode.

We are seeing operators step up to the challenge of these times and have shown a real speed of adaptation to ‘COVID-19 secure’ compliancy. They are ready to deliver for business owners and their teams who now demand agility and access to added-value features. With the expectation for 2020 being blended workplaces combining virtual and physical offices (WFH & WFO), a wider rollout of hybrid ways of working should give operators an advantage over traditional
landlords. But the onus is on the operators to make a difference.

The flexible office market offers a range of products, all of which cater to those varied business needs. In planning your office return, understanding how best to utilise the component parts appropriately, relevant to your business and workforce will be beneficial.

THE FLEXIBLE RANGE

One size does not fit all. So, as a part of the evolution of the flexible office market in recent years, the range of options for businesses has increased. Here are the most common products available:

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COST BENEFITS

Irrespective of the leasing route a business takes, whether it is leasehold or flexible, the current economic times demand a higher level of cost-consciousness and an ability to achieve the best outcome financially and operationally. To meet these requirements, flexible office providers are increasingly ramping up their competitive pricing structures.

Flexible office providers need not give space away for free, but by reducing potential costs for prospective clients during these challenging times, operators have the opportunity to gain a loyal and sustained customer base. Although discounting in pre-COVID times was commonplace, especially in the crowded marketplace such as London, it now shows a degree of empathy with businesses. This is a smart way to lure people back to the office where working remotely full-time is not the most optimal long-term solution.

In some cases working with an adviser such as DeVono Cresa you could unlock exclusive discount incentives, in many cases up to 50% off the sticker price. Working with us will also allow you to benchmark options based on merit and real value add propositions.

In the short-to-medium-term, as the economy gradually opens up, flexible office operators have a significant opportunity to rise to the challenge, addressing concerns of occupiers, and capturing a wider base of customers in the coming year. We acknowledge that the industry has indeed suffered too in the months of the lockdown. As we begin to understand the ‘new normal’, providers who deliver exceptional service and value will afford them greater long-term goodwill and loyalty. Flexible leasing will now, more than ever, serve as a core option for occupiers. This is already noticeable with an increase in the volumes of transactions for this type of space.

For those who require flexible leasing solutions - a hub space to reconnect with your team for the remainder of the year, an additional office, or a relocation, DeVono Cresa has been working with several providers to obtain exclusive discounts DeVono Cresa clients. If interested, please get in touch.