In economically uncertain times, companies cut costs. The focus is quickly on the number of employees. However, the second largest cost block, office space, is hardly ever cut. Long-term contracts of frequently 5, 10 or more years restrict the leeway almost completely. This is reason enough to choose a flexible model when an existing contract expires or when renting office spaces for the first time.
In the English-speaking world, but also in Scandinavia or the Netherlands, the coworking trend is already much more advanced than in Switzerland: Flexible workspace, also called space-as-a-service, is already part of everyday life for over 50% of companies in some centers there. But the trend toward flexibly rentable office space is now picking up speed in Switzerland as well. A few years ago, it was mostly startups and subsidiaries of foreign corporations that were using these so-called flexible workspaces, but today Swiss companies are also increasingly looking for flexible office space. Corporations rent private, but flexibly rentable and terminable offices for entire teams, and some SMEs even focus entirely on flexible office space.
There are four decisive advantages that speak for a flexible office rental model in a coworking space:
1. Contractual Flexibility
Pandemics, technological advances, regional or global crises – the world has become more unpredictable. As a company, it is difficult to make long-term predictions. Ambitious growth can turn out to be too ambitious overnight. Or – more pleasantly – you grow faster than expected. Both scenarios are poison for long-term space planning. Hybrid, flexible and mobile work arrangements further complicate planning. In the worst case, the office is always too small or too large. Flexible office space creates the necessary customization capability here. Both short- and long-term space requirements can be handled flexibly – and the company only pays for what it needs.
2. Equipment & Infrastructure
Flexible workspaces often offer more infrastructure compared to dedicated office space. Boardrooms, meeting rooms, phone booths, focus areas – basically any type of work and collaboration is made possible. And then there is quite much more. Westhive, as one of the largest providers of flexible office spaces in Switzerland, offers in-house restaurants, fitness rooms, showers and even a gaming room for fans of video games on its premises. Only a few companies have a similar infrastructure – and therefore find it very difficult to get employees back into the office.
3. High Convenience
Office rent and office management require resources and time. Flexible office space, on the other hand, can usually be acquired without advance notice – and is managed by the provider. There is no need for maintenance, organization of consumables or contact with typical contact points such as facility managers or administration. The resources freed up can be used elsewhere or are not needed at all.
4. Lower Costs
The costs of owning office space are often underestimated. In most cases, they amount to a multiple of the pure rent. In Switzerland, a fully equipped workplace for an employee costs around 1,500 to 2,000 Swiss francs, or even more depending on the location and fittings. In contrast, the costs for providers of flexible office space are significantly lower. A team office for 4 people at Westhive in Basel, for example, costs around CHF 3400. The price per workstation in these private offices is therefore CHF 850. Individual fixed spaces can even be rented for as little as CHF 620. Depending on the situation and requirements, this is significantly cheaper than the conventional rental model.
Conclusion: Flexibility, cost benefits and productivity
Flexible workspaces are in trend. They offer flexibility in economically uncertain times. Companies can adapt the space requirements to their specific needs. In addition to the pure cost benefits, they offer many amenities that employees appreciate and relieve the burden on management.