Crafting flexible business models that ‘earn the commute’ of employees

New Business - 5 September 2023
Simon Eastlake
3 min read
Published: 22 Nov 2023 2:50

Recent reports predicting the impending downfall of the well-known flexible office space provider, WeWork, have undoubtedly stirred discussions about the future of flexible workspaces. However, it's important to recognise that the challenges it faces do not offer a comprehensive picture of the broader industry. While the future success of traditional office spaces remains uncertain, flexible and bespoke serviced workplaces continue to gain popularity and relevance.  

Landscape beyond the WeWork narrative

Crucially, the decline of WeWork should not be conflated with the downfall of the entire sector. The hurdles faced by a single company do not reflect the outlook of the whole sector. The real momentum rests with the hybrid working revolution, and flexible and tailor-made serviced workspaces are at the forefront of this transformation. In fact, more than two-thirds of London's flexible office spaces achieved an impressive 80% occupancy or higher earlier this year. This isn't just a statistic, it signifies an escalating demand for adaptable and versatile work environments. It's clear that the world of work is changing, and our spaces must evolve with it.

Crafting a successful hybrid business model

It's crucial to remember that success isn't a one-size-fits-all formula. Every workplace provider has a unique business model that aligns withs its vision and the needs of its clientele. At Office Space in Town (OSiT), we chose a deliberate path of investing in the ownership of our buildings, which grants us the flexibility to customise our offerings, ensuring our spaces are not only exceptional in their functionality but are also sources of inspiration.

Serviced, flexible workplaces are rising in popularity because they help companies to achieve the ideal balance between home and in-person working. When considering a successful hybrid business model, serviced office providers should consider office designs with modern working habits in mind, such as such as pay-as-you-go meeting rooms and varying spaces and rooms to allow individuals to take virtual meetings uninterrupted.

Earning the commute

The heart of OSiT's mission lies in the notion of "earning the commute". This phrase encapsulates the essence of what every workspace should aspire to achieve. In this era of hybrid work, employees are empowered with choices - the option to work remotely or to venture into the office. The challenge for businesses is to create an environment that doesn't just house desks, but one that nurtures; a workspace that's so compelling, so enriching, that employees willingly undertake the commute.

Designing serviced and flexible offices that truly earn the commute involves curating distinctive onsite amenities that enhance employee engagement and attendance. At a number of buildings in the Office Space in Town (OSiT) portfolio, we offer rooftop social areas, recreational game rooms, and well-equipped gyms. These are compelling incentives, attracting tenants to embrace in-person work in an appealing and enriching workplace environment. Opting for serviced flexible offices not only grants businesses the advantages of adaptable work arrangements but also helps ensure greater team collaboration, which typically delivers higher productivity. Beyond the physical, it's essentially about fostering an environment that fuels creativity, ignites collaboration, and nourishes a sense of belonging.

It is important to remember that WeWork is a company, not a movement. The rise and fall of such businesses instead serve as a poignant reminder of the dynamic nature of the corporate world. The success of a business isn't solely linked to market fluctuations; rather, it depends on our ability to recognise the evolving needs of our employees, clients, and communities. It is essential businesses monitor the pulse of the modern workforce and ensure their offices cater to the ever-changing needs of their employees. The future of hybrid working is more than occupancy rates and revenue streams, it's about enabling a new way of work that resonates with the ambitions and aspirations of the modern workforce.