The Future of the Flexible Workspace Industry

March 30, 2023 Mihaela Lica Butler

Whether we like it or not, the COVID-19 pandemic will influence the future of the flexible workspace industry. After working from home during the past lockdowns, employees all over the world gained a new perspective on flexibility for working hours and spaces.

Adobe's 2021 report, The Future of Time, highlights that 63% of high-growth companies embrace a "productivity anywhere" workforce model, while 51% of enterprise employees want complete flexibility over their working hours.

working hours flexibility statista

Credit: Statista

The coworking spaces movement is not even two decades old, but it poses to become a worldwide phenomenon due to its crucial benefits for employers and employees.

  • Flexible and remote work could save employers billions of dollars in cost savings - circa $500B a year, according to a recent Global Workplace Analytics and Design Public Group (DPG) report.
  • Renting coworking workspaces also covers extra services and equipment, including office furniture, Internet access via Wi-Fi, hardware, software, etc.
  • Businesses can opt to scale office space up or down depending on their needs.
  • Remote work increases productivity by reducing energy drains like those resulting from lengthy daily commutes.
  • Employers can reduce their real estate costs, saving $2K per remote half-time worker per year.
  • Remote work could reduce absenteeism resulting from illness or surgery, environmental and occupational hazards, parenthood, personal or family appointments, etc.
  • During the coronavirus pandemic, remote work ensured business continuity for many enterprises. In addition, a flexible working arrangement will ensure business continuity during other events and disasters.
  • 82% of the employees working from home during the coronavirus pandemic would like to continue doing so at least once a week when the threat of COVID-19 is over.
  • 72% of employees would prefer a mix of remote and office work, a hybrid approach. (Slack)
  • 65% of business leaders cite flexible schedules and work locations as the critical factors leading to an ideal employee experience.

The future of work is hybrid: a mix of remote work, coworking spaces, and flexible working hours that will allow employers and employees to achieve a better life/work balance.

The future of work is hybrid

Credit: Slack

"Businesses everywhere must place a greater priority on enhancing employee experiences, which in turn will drive higher productivity, collaboration and better customer outcomes," said Leon Gilbert, senior vice president, and general manager, Digital Workplace Services, Unisys.

In the light of these realities, we can expect the flexible workspace industry to grow steadily. Statista predicts 41,975 coworking spaces worldwide by the end of 2024, with some five million employees in flexible working arrangements.

Moreover, according to Research and Markets, the global coworking space market is expected to grow from $8.14 billion in 2021 to $13.03 billion in 2025, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12%.

CBRE's The End of the Beginning paper emphasizes a significant detail regarding the future of the workspace industry: 86% of business owners see flexible office space as a critical component of their future real estate strategies.

"COVID-19 has accelerated many trends, the most transformational of which may be employee work patterns. Choice, mobility, and autonomy are words that describe workstyles in the future," according to CBRE. "Flexible office space is poised to play a significant role in this evolution as it allows enterprise occupiers to better balance supply and demand in the future."

In the context of a flexible work environment, the global players are WeWork, Mix Pace, UCOMMUNE, Krspace, SimplyWork, Regus, and Impact Hub, among others. These offer a full range of spaces, varying from virtual offices to meeting facilities, coworking spaces, day offices, and business centres. They also focus on technical developments to maintain a competitive edge while improving services and customer satisfaction. However, they are not the only players.

Smaller providers of flexible working spaces tend to address customer demands with tailored business solutions that focus on occupant mental health and wellbeing, as well as innovative technology and other benefits.

However, finding a provider that addresses all the needs of the employer and employee is challenging. To address this challenge, Book a Space connects property owners with people who are looking for coworking spaces, offices, conference rooms, and hybrid or alternative workspaces. Through the platform, hotels and other providers can offer spaces that are not only flexible and affordable but also tailored to the specific needs of the renter.

Book a Space does more than listing coworking real estate options in a database: it offers flexible booking options (by the hour, day, or long-term) and makes the booking process as straightforward as booking a hotel room.

Combining coworking spaces with remote work or work from home in a hybrid format will shape the office of the future. Flexibility will ensure savings for employers, better work and life balance for all, productivity, mental health through reduced stress and anxiety, and increased employee satisfaction overall.

Remote Employee Experience Index

Credit:  Slack

These advantages, plus adaptability, practicality, and networking, will continue to drive the future of the flexible workspace industry.