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With its free foosball tables, alcohol on tap and regular parties advertised as networking events, WeWork seemed set to revolutionise the contemporary office as we know it. However, despite its early successes, its IPO revealed a flawed business model and a hasty expansion strategy that made long-term profitability highly unlikely.

And once the controversial behaviour of CEO Adam Neumann came to light, the downfall of WeWork looked inevitable, and its future still looks incredibly bleak.

Though entrepreneurs certainly won‘t be taking tips from WeWork anytime soon, the disgraced company did get one thing right: flexible workspaces sell. And in spite of WeWork’s failure, real estate lawyer and podcast host Susan Freeman predicts that when it comes to the future of coworking, “the shift in the way people work won’t be reversed”.

Generally speaking, a ‘flexible workspace’ refers to a kind of space-as-a-service, encompassing coworking within serviced offices without any fixed contracts. There are a variety of options available, and businesses can move in promptly, personalising the space to suit their needs. WeWork may not have achieved the success it was aiming for, but it did spearhead a modern type of office environment that businesses will continue to embrace going forward.

There is an appetite for choice

WeWork was spot on when it predicted that employees wanted more than just a desk and computer. Its more decadent perks may no longer be of interest, but having a flexible workspace does mean that staff can take advantage of the different spaces and amenities available, and adapt their environment depending on their day-to-day requirements.

A normal office can be problematic when a group of vocal collaborators is forced to work in the same room as a single employee who needs peace and quiet. As one-third of workers want a “soundscaped” environment, flexible workspaces are ideal for ensuring that both parties are well catered for. An increasing number of serviced office providers are now providing more flexible workspaces. Landmark, for example, provide private workspaces that also include access to a separate club space, which includes a collaborative area, a social zone and more formal meeting rooms. With a flexible workspace, all employees can always have a suitable place to work for all their tasks.

Businesses want affordable offices

Securing office space can be extremely expensive, especially in a city like London where it costs £650-£1500 per person every month. Instead of renting a leased office on a fixed contract, many businesses are choosing flexible workspaces as a more affordable alternative. Not only is the rent often cheaper, but flexible workspace payments also cover the costs of services like IT support, cleaning, and security, all while coming fully furnished.

These models also let business owners avoid paying additional fees such as business rates and stamp duty, both of which are required expenses when renting leased offices. Furthermore, the unfixed nature of flexible workspace contracts can protect companies from financial uncertainty. Considering that 90% of startups fail, new businesses may understandably be reluctant to commit to long-term leases from the outset. A flexible office means they can give up their space to up- or downgrade whenever they like, never leaving them tied down to a contract or worrying about missing rent payments.

Flexibility is vital for modern employment practices

Holding down a standard 9-5 office job isn’t a given anymore. Interest in freelancing grew by 31% in 2018, while 40% of UK workers have a “side hustle”, an additional job on top of regular employment. With more people pursuing their passions and taking control of how, when and where they work, a flexible workspace is far more likely to meet their needs than a traditional office. 

A key benefit of being self-employed is that there’s no need to be tied down to just one office. WeWork currently has offices in 111 cities, and other flexible workspace providers have followed suit by opening buildings in additional locations. This means that a freelancer based in London could travel to Edinburgh for the week and still have access to their ideal office while they’re away.

What’s more, freelancers and side hustlers also may not need dedicated office space on a long-term basis. They may be perfectly happy working from home or from a coffee shop the majority of the time. However, if they’re having an important meeting, or simply need a more professional environment, flexible workspaces allow them to rent the area they need for as little as an hour.

Author Bio :

Syna Smith is a Head of SEO at Backlinksmedia. She is expert on link building.

 


Why the appeal of the flexible workspace will endure despite WeWork's failure
Digital Mag

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