Insights 13th April 2021 flexible

Pre-pandemic, most businesses saw the office as a place where individuals could get work done. Post-pandemic, the traditional office building is predicted to evolve into primarily a culture space, fostering collaboration, providing workers with a social anchor, enabling learning, and facilitating connections.

Indeed, if Covid has accelerated one permanent change, it’s the way occupiers view office space. Commuting to the workplace five days a week now seems unlikely for many. But workers are still likely to crave collaboration with team members, face-to-face meetings and a social atmosphere, which is where work space solutions designed and managed specifically for individual companies come in.

Run the business, not the workplace

The majority of companies want to focus on running their businesses, not the workplace it occupies. What’s more, they want a single point of contact so that the process of occupying a space becomes as simple and seamless as possible.

A growing number of businesses crave the simplicity and convenience of a serviced office solution, but with the ability to brand the space to create their own identity and to have bespoke amenities to suit their employees’ requirements. This is not only true of SMEs and start-ups, but increasingly larger firms too. The size and maturity of companies choosing managed office space is on the rise, as multinational corporations such as Siemens and Aviva move towards hybrid 3:2 working models. Managed office solutions have shifted into mainstream global corporate culture, where the new breed of managed space provision is fast becoming a best-in-class approach to occupier services.

Create a destination

Managed offices providing space-as-a-service streamline the customer journey from beginning to end, delivering design-led, fit-out, occupier-ready, collaborative work space environments, and complementing these with ongoing services that address the needs of modern businesses and their workers. This can include everything from the mandatory – think fast wi-fi, telecoms, effective air-conditioning and fully equipped kitchens and showers – to free yoga classes, and weekly social events. Opportunities for non-work-related activities are a way to nurture relationships and signal that the office is also about connecting.

All-inclusive pricing

When it comes to pricing, the landlord can offer flexible terms for a cost-effective whole-occupancy cost – a single all-inclusive rent for the space, business rates and associated running costs. The occupier can move in to a fully designed own-branded bespoke space that reflects their brand and culture, and suits their employees’ requirements, without the upfront capex required through a typical office provider.

So proficient are managed office space providers at creating attractive workplace destinations, that for many businesses it is no longer necessary, or attractive, to take on the full operational responsibility of acquiring, fitting out and managing their own leased office space.

Tangible ESG benefits

As well as offering an attractive product that increasing numbers of occupiers want, there are other notable, tangible benefits to landlords providing a managed space offer as well as, or instead of, traditional leasing options.

By running the operations of the whole building, including the occupied space as well as the common parts, investors will have greater transparency and accessibility of consumption data throughout the whole building, for both occupiers and landlord. This enables more effective implementation of environmental initiatives to improve performance as well as improving the collation of data for environmental reporting.

The delivery of health & wellbeing and community aspects of management are also enhanced through this whole-building approach that managed space facilitates. Using tools such as an office management app, exceptional customer service and staff health & wellbeing is at the heart of the whole building’s offer, through the delivery of experiential services such as concierge and exercise-class bookings, for example.

It should also enable greater efficiencies and economies of scale in the delivery of core FM services throughout the whole building. Single suppliers for services such as cleaning, M&E and maintenance can be more efficiently deployed, rather than a myriad of contractors appointed by occupiers and the landlord’s managing agent.

Owner and occupier in synch

Now more than ever, the relationship between an owner and occupier needs to be one of collaboration, with a focus on outstanding customer-service. A holistic managed space approach to leasing vacant space enables landlords to really provide space-as-a-service, rather than providing services to space, to the benefit of both occupier and landlord.

Landlords’ readiness to embrace partnership solutions is set to accelerate rapidly in 2021 as employers strive to create work spaces that are worth leaving home for.

By David Soar, Partner, Workman

To find out more, contact our Managed Space team.