There has been common phrase circulating through business these days: flex space. But what is flex space, and is it a good option for your business?
The rise of the coworking space has heavily disrupted the commercial real estate industry, and woken many property owners up to the fact that many startups and small-to-medium enterprises are beginning to seek shorter, low-commitment leases rather than traditional several-year-long leases for office space and commercial purposes.
While this scares some commercial property owners, it’s been a boon to other office rental companies, which represent a fast-growing global sector of the commercial real estate market, with growth expected in every corner of the world as businesses continue to spring up and seek space to operate for a few weeks or months at a time.
Meanwhile the number of remote workers worldwide continues to expand, and many established businesses are beginning to turn to coworking spaces as an alternative to seeking out new office space in an area where they only need a temporary setup for a major deal or transaction.
Current Trends in Office Space
However, where do companies go once they’ve graduated past the needs of a coworking space, but aren’t ready to fully commit to a traditional office space of their own? What options do they have if they need both a managerial office and access to tons of industrial-level storage, as many startups do? Where should they go if they don’t want to move into an industrial lot far from the city center?
Enter the flex space, a commercial real estate solution that has provided many companies with a useful in-between for two decades.
What is a Flex Space?
While you might think it is ‘flexible’ space, its name is something of a double-meaning, as it actually refers to the ability to ‘flex’ into different parts of a larger property – typically a large, industrial, warehouse-style commercial property with a built-to-spec office space, and a shorter lease than traditional offices (three months to a year, in many cases).
Flex spaces provide the space for companies to have both manufacturing and management in one area, while staying flexible enough to allow quick and cost-effective remodeling once a company moves on or moves out.
This allows owners to worry less about the potential issues caused by a shorter lease, while offering greater flexibility than traditional office spaces (which are much harder and much more expensive to remodel), all while giving companies the space to create their own look, feel, and culture, without the restrictions that typically apply in coworking spaces.
However, because flex spaces are generally barebones, they do have their fair share of disadvantages as well. They’re typically low on amenities, and are usually on the ground level, which may pose a security threat to some companies.
How are Flex Spaces Different from an Open Plan?
Flex spaces offer different modular portions of a larger space. Rather than renting the entire office space with a long-term contract and a set floor plan that’s only minimally customizable (or would cost much to change around), they prioritize helping companies set up a workspace they can call their own for a shorter period of time, within a flexible amount of space within a larger, industrial-style building (a warehouse, usually).
This space can be divided into suites, and companies can choose how much of the space they need for how long. More than just a different office layout or floor plan, a flex space is an entirely different commercial real estate business model.
Who Uses This Type of Space?
Through a flex space, the company would be doing away with the established and the traditional, and providing a space that can regularly change and adapt to its various tenants, featuring space for basic amenities and functionality while keeping the work areas versatile and modular, with the option to remodel or change the space whenever needed.
Flex spaces are often a great fit for companies that need storage space to manage and house their production and distribution of goods. It can be setup to provide shared room for more than one company with similar setups, by providing shared manufacturing space for small-scale manufacturing companies, a setup that is growing and becoming more popular.
What’s the Difference Between Flex Space and Coworking?
Coworking spaces are traditionally successful for companies that don’t need that storage space to do their work to begin with, or for remote workers looking for a space to work in temporarily, or for large companies to utilize across the globe for smaller teams. Even more interesting is the prospect of the remote company – a company that exists almost entirely in digital space, composed 100 percent of remote workers.