London's flexible office space 6th August 2015

The number of flexible working locations could reach nearly 50,000 across the world in the next three years with London leading the way, according to a global report released today by DTZ.

The ‘How You Work report’ explores the trajectory of the flexible office from the business centre of the 1980s to the coworking space of the 21st century. Coworking spaces have grown exponentially and are predicted to reach close to 50,000 sites by 2018.

London is leading the way internationally with nearly 1,000 flexible working locations across the city. This is a rise of more than 10% since 2010 and already represents nearly 5% of total office take-up in the capital. Other cities including New York, Berlin and Shanghai have seen similar rapid growth since 2010. Flexible offices now account for up to 8% of global office take-up.

Sophy Moffat, Associate Director, Central London Agency & Investment and co-author of the report, said: “The world of work is changing and flexibility is no longer sought by the tech, creative and media sectors alone, but by a growing pool of large corporate tenants coming into the flexible office market for the first time.

“Technology companies may have been first to customise their own unique experience around a core product, but there’s a growing expectation that property should work like that too.”

The report identifies five key commercial and cultural factors driving the explosive growth in flexible office space as follows:

  • Economics and the requirement to reduce costs and increase efficiencies
  • Simplicity allowing companies to focus on their core business
  • Location flexibility in a period of strong demand for commercial real estate in the Central Business District
  • Growth and globalisation of the corporate world
  • Advocacy exemplified by the uptake of flexible working by corporates and government.

The five key cultural forces behind this trend are:

  • Entrepreneurship and the explosion of self-employment
  • The proliferation of technology and the growth of digital economy
  • Connectivity and collaboration enabled by technology
  • Recruitment and retention in the war for talent
  • The growth in professional and corporate networks