What is flexible space?
Flexible space is used to describe workspaces that are different from traditional office space. It includes serviced offices, co-working spaces and liquid spaces (office space that is available for sublease by the existing tenant).
Flexible space is usually managed by specialist operators or individual landlords, and joint ventures or management contracts between landlords and flexible space operators are becoming increasingly common.
Flexible space comes in a variety of sizes; it can be open-plan office space, single desks, dedicated desks, small enclosed offices or even entire floors.
What is a serviced office?
Serviced offices are typically more formal and corporate in nature. In contrast to a traditional office, a serviced office is usually a fully-furnished office suite that is set up and ready to go when you move in. Serviced offices cater to larger organisations or more established teams. However, due to the increasing interest in shared office environments, more and more serviced office operators have also joined the bandwagon of co-working by adopting some of the concepts and designs of a co-working space within their own offices.
What is a co-working space?
Prior to 2015, the flexible space market was mainly dominated by serviced office operators. While the first co-working space was set up in Singapore in 2009, its growth only picked up in recent years.
Compared to serviced offices, the environment in co-working spaces is livelier and offers more amenities, such as a recreational area, a kitchen, a café or even a mini bar. Each co-working space has its own vibe, and the operators go to great lengths to cultivate a unique experience. They strive to create a sense of community, drawing inspiration from the unique culture of start-ups, with plenty of breakout areas to facilitate lightbulb moments. Co-working spaces typically attract entrepreneurs, freelancers, start-ups and small businesses.
Why flexible space?
Flexible space is attractive because it offers a more affordable and flexible office space solution, especially to entrepreneurs, freelancers and start-ups. It is also more cost efficient to lease a flexible workspace as occupiers are not constrained by long term leasing commitments and do not need to invest in retrofitting the workspace.
Co-working is the new networking. Flexible space operators provide not just the physical space and basic amenities, but also an experiential experience for occupiers. The amenities and facilities serve as a touchpoint for people to network and connect with each other. The social environment and dynamic communities encourage knowledge sharing, collaboration and creativity.
As the trend continues to grow, multinational companies and large domestic corporates have seen these opportunities and have started to explore their use of flexible space. Some companies are either shifting some of their staff to a shared workspace or are looking to incorporate flexible space features into their existing offices as a way to foster innovation and to create a modern workplace that fits the preferences of their staff.