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Competing with WeWork and keeping your lunch

Coworking office

Competing with WeWork and keeping your lunch

Research by The Instant Group revealed that flexible workspace in the UK grew by 10 per cent last year to 5,320 sites.

Large operators like WeWork and The Office Group continued to expand, yet independent operators matched that growth and now make up 83 per cent of the total number of flexible workspace locations.

The figures won’t be particularly surprising to anyone that has visited a WeWork office and can therefore appreciate the appeal.

Growing demand for flexible office space

The Evolution of Flexible Workspace report also found that interest for larger flexible space had risen – deals for 20 and 50 plus desks jumped by 12 per cent and 19 per cent respectively, with more corporates investigating how a different set-up could benefit their business.

Flexible working is the future and this new model allows businesses the best of both worlds – its own office space within a reputable, often highly desirable location, on a flexible lease and all within an environment that’s visually appealing, stimulating and energetic.

Appetite for flexible workspace in the North West has certainly remained robust, with a variety of operators launching and continuing to attract new tenants. Liverpool’s Avenue HQ – one of our own design and fit-out projects – is one example; an award-winning space that the Aztec team is incredibly proud of.

Forward-thinking landlords are evolving their offer

Landlords will no doubt be questioning whether it’s a trend set to continue – the forward-thinking landlords will already be acting on it and evolving their offer.

The property industry isn’t best known for its customer service, but that will need to change if landlords and more ‘traditional’ operators are to keep pace with the shift towards this new way of working – not only is it more cost-effective and flexible, it’s also hugely appealing to employees, whose every need is catered for.

So, what’s the answer for landlords?

How can landlords compete with flexible providers?

The answer is often in the little things when keeping clients happy.

With more than 30 years’ experience delivering office fit-out and refurbishment projects, we know that the issues most likely to niggle occupiers are the simplest to fix – make sure that everything works, from HVAC through to access controls and any bespoke technology. Make sure that the lighting is comfortable within the office and introduce systems that allow people to control their own environment. Make it comfortable.

Make sure that the building is maintained properly and that any issues are rectified immediately – occupiers should be updated and know that they’re important and are being listened to.

Take a ‘one building’ approach

Landlords should consider whether there is anything they can do to replicate some of the aspects of the flexible workplace within their own building? Break down the barriers associated with ‘traditional’ models.

Invest in pop-ups and arrange events, make sure someone is checking-in regularly with each occupier and create a communal social channel or intranet for the building in which every business can share and celebrate successes.

Add little touches like charging stations or small seating areas on communal corridors and in spaces that would otherwise remain unused – encourage conversation.

Create a community

It’s essential to create and foster a community within a building – landlords should consider whether there is space within the building for a more relaxed communal area, allowing employees from different companies to meet and get to know each other. This is one of the primary factors that makes the WeWork and Office Group concepts so successful.

Create the same effect within your own building. A communal space can become host to weekly get-togethers and celebrations of major events taking place during the year – whether that’s strawberries and cream for Wimbledon or mulled wine and mince pies at Christmas.

Make it easy for a community to grow

What is the building’s reception area like? Is it welcoming? Are there places for visitors and employees to sit and talk?

Is there scope for any amenities within the building like a coffee shop or deli?

Forward-thinking landlords have stopped thinking in floorplate measurements and have realised that, for many businesses, particularly those just taking off, community is now often key to the appeal of a building – it’s by embracing the principle of community that landlords will keep their lunch – and perhaps their breakfast too.

Why not check out our Avenue HQ case study and get a feel for the thinking behind the concept and design – https://www.aztec-interiors.co.uk/work/avenue-hq/

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