flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

Flex and co-working office spaces create value for users, tenants, and developers, according to a new survey

Office Buildings

Flex and co-working office spaces create value for users, tenants, and developers, according to a new survey

More landlords see these spaces as “long-term solutions.”

By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | February 20, 2018

A view of a shared office space operated by WeWork, which has 200,000 members and locations in 20 countries. Flex and co-working offices are gaining broader acceptance among corporate tenants, property managers, and landlords. Image: Matteo Doni, via Wikimedia Commons

A nationwide survey of more than 300 end users, operators, landlords, and developers found that an agile workplace has a positive impact on user engagement.

The survey—conducted by The Instant Group, a workplace innovation company, and the architectural firm HLW—also exposed a blurring of the lines separating “flex” and “conventional” approaches to office design and operations.

“Agile working practice has been widely adopted and is now viewed as a strategy to mitigate uncertainty and risk,” observed the authors of the research report based on the survey titled The Marketplace for Flexible Work. “Furthermore, many companies now see agile solutions as offering value to their business planning.”

Peter Bacevice, HLW’s Director of Research, adds, “Today’s workplace calls people to action and to do great things. Great workplaces inspire people and provide the essential staging for the cultivation of community from which fresh ideas emerge, evolve, and underpin sustained business growth.”

End users of co-working and flex office spaces spend an average of 54% of their total work weeks in these spaces, the survey revealed. Among its respondents, 83% of the survey’s end users of co-working and flex space claim they’ve benefited from these new work environments over the last five to 10 years. And 71% stated that these workspaces positively affect the ways that they engage their work.

The survey found a high level of satisfaction with flex and co-working spaces among end users. Image: The Instant Group/HLW


End users say they are thriving in flex office spaces because these environments expand their professional networks and business opportunities, engender innovation, and give them a higher feeling of energy. The experience in these kinds of office spaces is akin to what users might encounter in hotel operations, observed John Williams, Instant’s head of marketing.

It’s not surprising, then, that while the majority of end users expect they will be working in a range of work environments in the future, more than two-fifths (42%) expect to be using flex office spaces more going forward in their work lives.

Three-fifths of corporate respondents to the survey agreed that the rise of co-working and flexible approaches to office design and operations has benefited their businesses, particularly in the area of being able to add or reduce the amount of space needed to seat employees at any given time.

Corporate tenants are looking for maximum flexibility from the workspaces they lease. Image: The Instant Group/HLW


For landlords, flex and co-working space creates value for their portfolios, the survey found. And office operators see the growth of these approaches as a way to gain more market share from corporate tenants.

While corporate tenants remain divided on co-working and flex space as a short or long-term solution for their companies, more than two-fifths of landlords agreed that flex space is a long-term solution, and 72% agreed that working with co-working operators that have a strong brand has “significant benefits” for their development.

“There is still much work to be done by the landlord market to assess who these potential clients [for flexible spaces] are and their specific demands, but the desire is there to adapt their offer to the market,” wrote John Vaughan, Instant’s Director.

Overwhelmingly, all respondents agree that wireless connectivity and wireless security are the most important technology-related features of flex and co-working spaces. Printing compatibility and printing security were also very important to almost two-thirds of respondents.

And with leases, on average, down to as low as 5.2 years, and with the average tenure or stay around 36 months for operators, the choice among tenants between a “flex” or “conventional” approach is now based more on cash-flow and strategic considerations than the length of stay. 

Related Stories

Office Buildings | Mar 20, 2023

Untraditional ‘Back To Work’ survey results for designers' insights

SMMA shares the results of its "Back To Work" survey, with respondents from multiple industries weighing in on return-to-office pros and cons. 

Mass Timber | Mar 19, 2023

A 100% mass timber construction project is under way in North Carolina

An office building 100% made from mass timber has started construction within the Live Oak Bank campus in Wilmington, N.C. The 67,000-sf structure, a joint building venture between the GCs Swinerton and Wilmington-headquartered Monteith Construction, is scheduled for completion in early 2024.

Urban Planning | Mar 16, 2023

Three interconnected solutions for 'saving' urban centers

Gensler Co-CEO Andy Cohen explores how the global pandemic affected city life, and gives three solutions for revitalizing these urban centers.

Sponsored | Cladding and Facade Systems | Mar 15, 2023

Metal cladding trends and innovations

Metal cladding is on a growth trajectory globally. This is reflected in rising demand for rainscreen cladding and architectural metal coatings. This course covers the latest trends and innovations in the metal cladding market. 

Mixed-Use | Mar 11, 2023

Austin mixed-use development will provide two million sf of office, retail, and residential space 

In Austin, Texas, the seven-building East Riverside Gateway complex will provide a mixed-use community next to the city’s planned Blue Line light rail, which will connect the Austin Bergstrom International Airport with downtown Austin. Planned and designed by Steinberg Hart, the development will include over 2 million sf of office, retail, and residential space, as well as amenities, such as a large park, that are intended to draw tech workers and young families. 

Architects | Mar 8, 2023

Is Zoom zapping your zip? Here are two strategies to help creative teams do their best work

Collaborating virtually requires a person to filter out the periphery of their field of vision and focus on the glow of the screen. Zoom fatigue is a well-documented result of our over-reliance on one method of communication to work. We need time for focus work but working in isolation limits creative outcomes and innovations that come from in-person collaboration, write GBBN's Eric Puryear, AIA, and Mandy Woltjer.

Green Renovation | Mar 5, 2023

Dept. of Energy offers $22 million for energy efficiency and building electrification upgrades

The Buildings Upgrade Prize (Buildings UP) sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy is offering more than $22 million in cash prizes and technical assistance to teams across America. Prize recipients will be selected based on their ideas to accelerate widespread, equitable energy efficiency and building electrification upgrades.

Sustainability | Mar 2, 2023

The next steps for a sustainable, decarbonized future

For building owners and developers, the push to net zero energy and carbon neutrality is no longer an academic discussion.

Industry Research | Mar 2, 2023

Watch: Findings from Gensler's latest workplace survey of 2,000 office workers

Gensler's Janet Pogue McLaurin discusses the findings in the firm's 2022 Workplace Survey, based on responses from more than 2,000 workers in 10 industry sectors. 

Seismic Design | Feb 27, 2023

Turkey earthquakes provide lessons for California

Two recent deadly earthquakes in Turkey and Syria offer lessons regarding construction practices and codes for California. Lax building standards were blamed for much of the devastation, including well over 35,000 dead and countless building collapses.

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category

halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021


Magazine Subscription

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.


Follow BD+C: