Article updated in September 2020
Remind the management why flexspace works for business big and small
It’s highly likely that you’re well aware of the boom in coworking and the benefits it can bring for businesses great and small – but what about the other stakeholders? Flexspace for business units is taking off around the world, with huge corporations such as Microsoft and Nike recognising the value to be found in a fully flexible office.
Despite this, however, many senior and middle managers remain sceptical of the advantages that making such a move can offer. Why? Perhaps it’s time to set the record straight and ensure that the advantages of flexible workspace are fully understood.
Addressing privacy fears
One of the biggest fears surrounding commercial real-estate flexspace is that of privacy. Many assume that sensitive company data could be easily compromised when more than one organisation shares a working environment. However, the majority of flexspace is, in fact, private and only accessible to company employees. IWG, for example, puts privacy at the top of the agenda with key cards and separate Wi-Fi networks to ensure that information is only ever seen by those with authorisation (there’s even a specialist team of in-house ‘hackers’, who continually test the office-space provider’s electronic infrastructure as it’s updated and rolled out across their global property network).
As all CRE professionals know, setting up a new office can be one of the biggest expenditures a company is likely to face outside of payroll. So a manager will naturally look for the most cost-efficient way to action this process – which is where the commercial real-estate services and investment firm CBRE’s smart tool can come in. Dubbed the CBRE Agile Lease Calculator, or CALC for short, it “crunches the data to tally your office-space prices across a variety of scenarios” (from short- to long-term and everything in between), and presents the various options available. Best of all, it’s not affiliated to any flexspace-provider – leaving you confident that what you show to your stakeholders is a totally unbiased (and fully comprehensive) picture.
Balance sheet considerations
Sticking with the financial side of the decision-making process, another factor that needs to be taken into consideration is that of IFRS16. A new international accounting standard that was introduced in 2019, it has huge implications for leaseholders because it requires that long-term leases be recorded as liabilities for the first time. And, as this article reports, that can add up to a lot: “According to Accountancy Age, for FTSE 350 companies, these leases amassed a whopping £180 billion.” Short-term leases (that is, those under 12 months), on the other hand, do not – so the impact this rule has on the bottom line can be seismic depending on the size of the company/property portfolio.
Staff wellbeing and retention
Another important factor centres on staff wellbeing and – what it essentially comes down to – talent retention. Recruitment is expensive, and it’s likely that once the right people have been found, keeping them on board is of paramount importance to regulate costs.
As the Millennial demographic (the largest in the global workforce) continues to exert pressure on their employers for a better working environment and a better work/life balance, the issue of retention no longer just restricted to HR. Now, every area of the business is tasked with contributing to staff wellbeing – including the CRE professional.
This is where flexspace for business units can have the edge, since it offers a range of fully adaptable environments to suit all working conditions. From well-equipped breakout areas to discreet meeting rooms (and private offices for those who require somewhere separate), flexspace can be tailored to fit. And since maintenance and repairs are outsourced as part of such a package, you can offer staff members a bright, pleasant place to do business that will also do wonders for morale.
A streamlined process
Finally, there’s one more person to consider: you. Sifting through properties and presenting them to your customers can be a drawn-out affair, which is why IWG has created an app to do the heavy lifting for you.
Called the IWG Broker App, this ingenious piece of software makes it easier than ever for brokers and agents to submit, track and manage referrals across all IWG brands: Regus, Spaces, No18, HQ and Signature by Regus. and is available for iPhone and Android-operating devices now. So, once you’ve got that flexible workspace explained, why not download the app and check it out?