Coworking & Flexible Workspace: Will It Be the Death of Traditional Offices?

Since coworking and flexible workspace became a trend a few years ago, office space design has been the subject of much speculation and discussion.

Business sites like Inc., Entrepreneur, Harvard Business Review and Forbes have featured numerous articles about the latest and greatest coworking/flexible office space designs, and of course, we at Telsec Business Centres have discussed alternative office space options for several years now, as providing office space in its many variations is both our specialty and service.

Here we continue the conversation about coworking and flexible workspace from the perspective that not only does it make good business sense for entrepreneurs, startups and SME businesses, but it also represents a cost-effective solution for corporations and larger businesses.

In fact, corporate and larger businesses will be the driving force behind the growth of coworking/flexible workspace, as they reap substantial bottom-line benefits from the increased employee productivity and lower operational costs of this alternative to traditional office space.

Coworking & Flexible Space: Above & Beyond Shared Office Space

First, let’s briefly clarify what coworking and flexible space is – and is not.

Coworking space isn’t the equivalent of shared office space, but rather represents an evolution of it. Coworking space offers a sense of community, and has been embraced by entrepreneurs and small business owners who seek the company of other like-minded professionals and networking opportunities.

Flexible workspace, or flex space, is actually a hybrid of coworking space. As the term implies, flex space offers a number of options for businesses in alternative, serviced office space designs besides the open concept team space, as well as flexible no-lease terms.

Both coworking and flex space save businesses the fixed upfront, overhead and operational expenditures required of traditional offices, such as restrictive leases, infrastructure installation, office equipment, furnishings, and administrative staffing.

The Role of Corporate & Larger Businesses in Driving Coworking & Flexible Space Growth

When one thinks of coworking/flexible office space, it usually conjures images of large, open, airy spaces filled with millennials at their computers.

And while millennials’ demands for an alternative to the traditional 9-to-5 workday in the traditional cubicle typical of the traditional commercial office have provided an impetus for larger businesses and corporate giants to migrate to flexible and coworking office spaces, these sizeable companies have also discovered the substantial benefit of doing so to their bottom line.

According to recent research on the flexible work market among corporate users of flex space, coworking and flexible space accounted for an astounding 71% of employees reporting they’re more engaged at work. While the sample was statistically small (500 corporate users of flex space), the findings are consistent with a number of professional articles citing increased productivity for employees working in a coworking or flexible space.

Besides the increased productivity of employees, corporate and larger businesses are attracted to coworking and flex space for the cost savings these alternatives offer. As mentioned, rather than being locked into a long-term lease for a commercial office, they can now opt to rent office space in a business centre for only as long as needed – even if only for a day —  and pay for only what they use, avoiding the expense of installing infrastructure, office equipment and furnishings, as well as eliminating the expense of full-time staffing while enjoying administrative support and services.

The 2018 Global Coworking Survey forecast 1.7 million people will be working in approximately 19,000 coworking spaces around the world by the end of this year, with a considerable 29% of all coworking spaces having been opened over the last year.

Among the 2018 trends identified by the survey is that more big corporations will be using coworking spaces for purposes such as setting up dedicated innovation teams for independent collaboration “outside the office,” yet enjoying the resources of a traditional office.

Other incentives spurring the expansive growth of coworking/flex spaces by corporate and larger businesses include the need for incubator spaces, notably by tech giants, and for better access to top talent while reducing overhead and operational costs.

Larger firms are also motivated to rent coworking/flex spaces to monitor their competition and identify acquisition targets, as well as stay informed of tech innovations. Because of the implicit threat to proprietary ideas being “overheard” or otherwise inadvertently shared, many large organizations are opting for flex offices that offer private and semi-private workspaces for their innovation and designated project teams.

Office Space Toronto

As we keep abreast of the latest office space trends and business needs, Telsec Business Centres continues to adopt competitively-priced solutions for our clients, from entrepreneurs to corporations.

We’ve specifically expanded our coworking space amenities to include access to conference rooms, telecommunication services, and office equipment, as well as administrative services and support that includes professional, personalized reception for your clients, colleagues, and visitors.

Our flexible office leasing options allow you to rent a space by the hour, day, or month, whether from a prestigious location in Canada (Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver), Los Angeles, New York, or London — or practically anywhere in the world!

And of course, those who are looking for a serviced executive suite, private, or semi-private office space have that option available, too.