5 years ago, the term “flexible office” didn’t have much of a place in commercial real estate. And for that matter, most consumers didn’t know about flexible office, coworking, or any of the providers working in this realm. Over the last few years, we’ve seen a ton of companies ride the wave of flexibility – in real estate and beyond. And now, the terms coworking, coliving, and flexible office are somewhat common. Here’s the thing – the flexible office wave isn’t subsiding anytime soon. The wave is growing, and companies and individuals alike are feeling the swell.
The Genesis of the Flexible Office
In the early stages of flexible office, it seemed that the flexible office as a solution was growing in parallel to the gig economy and startup boom. At that time, most people using coworking spaces or similar solutions were independent contractors, business owners, entrepreneurs, and startups. Flexible office only fit (it seemed) into the real estate strategies of small and growing businesses. And over the past few years, millions of companies and individuals started using a flexible office as their main or supplemental workspace. They saw the value in the simplicity, flexibility, and affordability of flexible work environments. They liked the fact that their workspace was move-in ready, with luxury amenities, and available on month-to-month terms. But then, big companies caught on.
What’s Next for the Flexible Office
Once big companies caught on to the advantages of flexible office, it prompted a huge change in the industry. Consider the simple fact that large companies and enterprises employ far more people than smaller companies. And, once employees started demanding new ways to work, big companies – in order to attract top talent – began offering flexible work as part of their real estate strategies. Think work from home days, company retreats and more remote work hours offered. So, what’s next? Well, enterprises and large companies are going to continue growing their flexible office strategies. At LiquidSpace, we’ve actually built out an entire product suite geared specifically towards enterprises. These large companies will dictate how the flexible office market changes. We’ll likely see more and larger suites be rented on flexible terms, with the simplicity and readiness of coworking-type spaces.
Individuals and small companies will continue using flexible office. But, we may see a shift in how they consume office space. Nowadays, you can rent “coworking space” in a restaurant, or book a single desk in the existing office of a burgeoning startup. There are even boats that double as workspace! We’ve seen all this and more at LiquidSpace, and we’re extremely excited to see what the next five years brings.