Is it time for a flexible office space?
There's a shift taking place in the global commercial sector as more and more businesses are turning their attention to the concept of flexible office spaces. This concept is seen as a disruptor in the office sector, both internationally and locally.
In South Africa, flexi office spaces are growing in demand due to the unique benefits it offers that are largely non-existent in the traditional office sector.
But, what is it?
Otherwise known as a coworking, shared space or flexispace, it is a type of office setup where businesses or individuals share a workspace with others from various industries. Space can be rented out on a daily, monthly or yearly basis depending on a business's unique needs. What's more, you can even rent out private office within a shared space for those who require privacy and a quieter environment.
Flexi offices supply a huge demand that traditional offices aren't able to. In this way, businesses benefit in unique ways that are new to the commercial market. Firstly, renting these spaces don't require a long-term commitment, instead, you can adjust it according to your real-time needs. For example; if you are renting out a flexi office space on a daily basis and you realise that your business is growing, you can easily switch to a monthly or even yearly rental option. This brings in major cost-savings as you're not committed to a long rental lease which traditional offices require (usually three years).
Other unique points to note is that these office spaces are fitted with basic equipment such as desks, chairs and phone lines - this makes setting up your business effortless and saves time and money. And what's more, by sharing an office space, you will have the opportunity to network, share ideas and establish collaborative partnerships with other business owners around you.
Who is it suited to?
Flexi office spaces are popular among independent professionals, tech start-ups and millennial freelancers. However, as its popularity grows, it's surprisingly becoming more appealing among large, multinational companies.
Gauteng, in particular, is seeing the most activity in the development of these spaces, with demand expected to outstrip the existing supply. Currently, the suburbs experiencing the most demand are Morningside, Sandton and Midrand.
Not for everyone
Of course, a shared office won't be for every business. And it does come with limitations that many businesses won't handle. The three most obvious are: limited space, distractions and lack of privacy.
If you need a bigger space for you and your team, your flexi office space can be upgraded to accommodate this. However, in certain circumstances, this may not be possible if the space you require is too big and there's not enough room. This means if you foresee your team growing rapidly, it will be a wiser choice to stick to a traditional office space.
Although working alongside other businesses gives you a chance to network, it can also be distracting at the same time. Some people may find it too noisy and this can affect their concentration and work productivity. With this in mind, there is an etiquette to follow where those sharing the space are advised to be considerate of those around.
Lack of privacy
Flexi spaces, by its very nature, are significantly less private than a traditional office. Even if you rent a private office within a shared space, you will have to share the common spaces such as a kitchen or meeting room. This environment may not be suitable if your business deals with sensitive information or if you would like a quieter area to work.
Flexi offices are undoubtedly gaining widespread development across the country as its affordability, adaptability and networking opportunities appeal to more and more businesses each day. If you're deciding whether to stick to a traditional office space or make the transition to a flexi option, it is vital to weigh the pros and cons before making the switch.
Author: 3CUBE Property Solutions