How much workspace do I need?

Business Insights

Many businesses, post pandemic, are still juggling with quite how much office space they and their employees actually need.

For a time, it seemed that the majority of office employees preferred the work pattern established during the pandemic of working from home. However, once restrictions eased, a more flexible pattern of hybrid working developed, in which people work partly from home and partly in the office. The hybrid pattern can present business leaders and HR professionals with organisational difficulties, relating to ensuring that everyone needed to be "in" at a given point, is. Zoom and other meeting technologies, do bridge some gaps, but are not always a substitute for in person meetings.

Employers are increasingly looking for strategies to encourage their workers to be in the office more often. One suggestion is to make the workplace a more attractive place to be. After all, today's workplace is expected to be more than just a set of walls and doors, desks, phones, computers and a coffee machine, but instead somewhere that provides the right mix of office space of the right environmental quality combined with the right services for your people. As businesses consider returning to the office, the quality of the workspace has become a significant factor.

Which you may feel still doesn't answer the burning question of how much space does your business actually need? How long is a piece of string? The ideal would be an environment as flexible as the needs of your team. Somewhere that you only pay for as much space as you use, with the option to increase as the business grows. Somewhere designed and maintained for you which provides an interesting and stimulating working environment.

These are precisely the needs that modern serviced offices and co-working spaces have been designed to meet. Serviced offices are dedicated offices for specific occupants, whereas co-working spaces are open shared areas. Whether you just need a personal desk away from the distractions of home, or somewhere to perch while you chat to fellow entrepreneurs, a co-working space could be the ideal situation for you.

If you are considering moving your entire organisation, preferably on flexible terms, with the option of taking over more space, or less, as your organisation's work pattern settles down, serviced offices would be appropriate. You would be in good company, the trend for flexible workspaces is becoming firmly established as companies seek out serviced offices with well-designed breakout spaces, collaborative areas and amenities that cater to the needs of their employees.

Serviced offices are meant to be turnkey solutions to businesses seeking furnished accommodations, "plug-and-play" amenities and IT solutions that allow for quick moves. Plus, how much space a tenant occupies and for how long is much more flexible in a serviced office compared to a traditional let. This flexibility is paramount to many businesses as they continue to experiment with how much office space they need and when they need it. You could consider a serviced office as a sort of temporary all-inclusive package of office space, furnishings, third-party IT and custodial services.

While flexibility is the primary attraction of co-working and serviced spaces, there are other benefits, not the least of which is location. Flexible office centres are often situated in prime city centre locations, providing your business with an upmarket address without the high premises price tag. Also, furnishings and décor are often hotel standard, with comfortable furnishing, plants and appropriate lighting, setting an upmarket and professional atmosphere.

They also come fully equipped with state-of-the art technology and high-speed Wi Fi. Often a key ingredient in encouraging your workforce back into the office – better, faster, cloud connectivity and technology than they may have at home – even your generation Z cohort!

Arrangements vary, in some instances the provider may have taken a long lease on one or more floors of a building, and then constructed a range of spaces from single person offices, larger offices, and boardrooms, alongside open collaborative work spaces, kitchens and hygiene facilities. In other cases, the owner of a large building, finding that their premises are underutilised may, themselves, offer co working and serviced facilities to smaller businesses. Often, smaller businesses, as they grow stay and simply take over additional spaces, thus maintaining their business address.

This article may not answer the question of quite how much space you need, but a flexible workspace would give you time to decide, while things settle back down.

Flexibility gives you time.