Flexible Workspaces 1a Essensys (1)
Most occupiers are considering flex workspace, but landlords need to offer better digital and physical amenities

Flexible workspace: ‘severe disconnect’ between needs and reality

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Karl Tomusk

Only 13% of occupiers believe that landlords are ‘strongly positioned’ to serve their flexibility requirements, a report commissioned by essensys has shown.

Landlords have been urged to “align their technology strategy” to meet occupier demands for not just greater flexibility but also better amenities and features within workspace. essensys said there was a “severe disconnect regarding expectations and actual offerings when it comes to landlord and occupier opinions in the flexible workspace market”.

Some 60% of occupiers said they plan to incorporate flex space into their real estate strategies, regardless of whether they plan to expand, maintain or shrink their portfolio size over the next three years.

But while nearly half of respondents (47%) said specialist workspace operators were strongly positioned to meet their needs, less than a fifth (13%) said traditional landlords could meet them.

Essensys Report Survey

The report revealed that 80% of occupiers value digital infrastructure as ‘highly important’ or ‘important’, and that they are willing to pay a premium for it. More than half of respondents said they would be willing to pay 20% more tech-enabled workspaces.

While landlords ranked digital and physical security systems as the top benefit of flex space, only a third of occupiers were ‘fully satisfied’ by data security offerings.

Jeremy Bernard, CEO for North America at essensys, said: “This report speaks to the increasing occupier demand for more flexible, experience-focused and tech-enabled workspaces and services.

“We’re experiencing a digital transformation of the office and it’s critical that landlords align their technology strategy to deliver the premium in-building experiences that occupiers expect today and in the future.”

Landlords also underestimated the impact of tenant community building apps. While 19% of landlords thought employee engagement tools had a high impact in flex space, two-thirds of occupiers said that collaboration and networking were important for enabling productivity.

About a third of occupiers ranked employee engagement tools as one of the most important services a flex space provider should offer.

The report was undertaken by independent research and advisory firm Verdantix.

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