A Short Guide to Flex Spaces

A Short Guide to Flex Spaces
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If your interests orbit the business world or real estate world, chances are you’ve come across the term “flex space” in recent years. A relatively new concept, flex space arose as a solution to uniquely modern work demands. 

As companies grow, they want the freedom to expand in whichever way the market takes them. At the same time, companies want to attract top talent by offering a dynamic workspace catered to employee preferences. According to many companies and real estate professionals, the solution is flex space. 

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, allow this article to offer a primer. 

What Is Flex Real Estate? 

Simply put, flex spaces (short for “flexible spaces,” as you might have guessed) are a kind of multi-purpose real estate, grouping together office spaces, warehouse and industrial spaces, manufacturing capabilities and/or employee amenities, for example. Everything lives together under one dynamic roof. 

You might hear the terms flex properties, flex real estate or flex space used interchangeably. They all refer to this hybridized property model. “Flex office spaces” are a similar concept that you may encounter; they refer to versatile working environments designed to provide office employees with a variety of ways to work. 

Why Flex Real Estate? And Why Now? 

To answer this question, let’s take a couple of case studies from recent news. 

Back in September, companies REEF and We Work announced a flex workspace pilot program in Miami, with eyes toward scaling nationally. Essentially, the companies created a mutually beneficial ecosystem, where the needs of a business – and the needs of its employees – can be addressed. The flex spaces include exclusive food delivery options, in addition to dynamic workspaces. 

Flex Real Estate
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Elsewhere, CBRE notes that a boom in flex workspaces is helping companies grapple “with a sea change in the labor force” as a result of the pandemic. According to their survey, enterprise companies’ sentiment toward flex spaces is growing, with 70% surveyed listing “flexible space” among their top three most desirable building amenities. And they found similar support among employees they polled. 

These insights help explain the recent popularity of flex spaces. On the one hand, flex real estate benefits companies by allowing them to customize and rearrange workspaces based on business objectives, workforce size, and usage needs (storage, manufacturing, office work, etc.). On the other hand, they remain attractive to employees; they can sustain amenities like food delivery services, and their open, versatile concepts promote collaboration amongst teams and departments. 

In Summary

As crowds of workers head back to the office, do not expect things to snap back to pre-pandemic “normal.”Companies will need to offer more than the traditional office model to attract talent back to the office. For many, that means embracing flex spaces. 

Luckily, utilizing flex spaces doesn’t just benefit employees; it can be an elegant solution for businesses who want to foster collaboration among departments, expand their business in new ways, test new working models, and potentially reduce capital expenditures.