What is flexible space?
Flexible space is used to describe workspaces that are different from the 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. In recent times, we observed that joint ventures or management contracts between landlords and flexible space operators are likely to become more 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 office caters to more corporate organisations or more established teams. However, due to the increasing trend of shared office environment, 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 offices.
What is 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 that sense of community, drawing inspirations from start-up culture with plenty of breakout areas to facilitate those lightbulb moments. Hence, co-working spaces usually attract entrepreneurs, freelancers, start-ups and small businesses.
Why flexible space?
What makes flexible space attractive is that it offers a more affordable and flexible office space solution, especially to entrepreneurs, freelancers and start-ups. It is also cost efficient to lease a flexible workspace as the occupiers are not constrained by the longer term leasing commitments and will not need to invest in retrofitting the workspace.
Co-working is the new networking. Flexible space operators don’t just provide the physical space and basic amenities, it is also about the service that they provide. 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 or large corporates saw the opportunities and are starting to explore the use of flexible space. Some companies are either shifting some of their staff to a shared workspace or incorporate features of flexible space into their existing offices as a way to foster innovation and to create a modern workplace that fits the preference of the new generation of staff.