The Revolution in Commercial Real Estate: The Needs of Companies and Employees Meet in Flexible Workspaces

Liassine Talbi

The continuing shift by businesses and enterprises from long-term leases to flexible workspace solutions is a natural progression in the evolution of commercial real estate. The advancement of new technologies has facilitated the ability of employees to work remotely, and this development is changing the way businesses approach office space. 

Flexible workspaces give enterprises the agility that is needed in today’s economy to keep up with the fast pace of change and innovation. Strategic business plans that look ahead five or ten years are no longer the norm, and when they are created, they are based on theoretical metrics. Traditional lease obligations do not match the breakneck rate of change. In order to survive, companies need the ability to scale up or down, as dictated by market terms and flexible workspace facilitates this transformation. 

Financial pressures are key elements in the drive towards flexibility. Utilizing a flexible workplace solution as a strategy for commercial real estate saves capital costs, and is not considered a long-term liability on a company’s balance sheet. The costs associated with leases and management of traditional commercial real estate are largely eliminated through the use of better-suited, flexible solutions. 

Real estate and facilities managers at SMEs and large enterprises have to take into account the need for flexibility driven by business considerations: the flexibility to increase or decrease headcount at anytime, to move locations, to extend or reduce the period of a lease agreement, and more importantly, the ability to adjust to a diverse workforce which includes remote workers, long-distance commuters, executive travelers and employees on the move. 

It is a fact that space planning is almost never accurate. Large numbers of today’s workforce only use the space assigned to them about 50% to 60% of the time, which is a highly inefficient use of real estate. Flexible workspace solutions have improved that efficiency by providing businesses with a badly needed and overdue solution to archaic ways of acquiring and using real estate. International operators such as Regus, Servcorp, WeWork and many others provide consistent workspaces that are used by both SMEs and large enterprises anywhere in the world. Still, the flexibility provided by these operators is not as extensive as it should be to adapt to the changes in the way people work and the way businesses use real estate.

Workspace flexibility is revolutionizing the way enterprises view commercial real estate for many reasons, among them are cost efficiency, increased productivity, agility and a happier workforce. Flexible workspace is also a boon to a business’ finance team as it allows for a healthier balance sheet with less long-term liability. As such, it is clear that the future of office space solutions for successful organizations will need to be flexible.