Home Commercial Property The property entrepreneur who’s carving a new path into the flexible office space industry

The property entrepreneur who’s carving a new path into the flexible office space industry

by LLP Reporter
20th Jul 23 12:45 pm

Hybrid working policies have seen demand for flexible office space (FoS) skyrocket.

London based Canvas Offices is one of the new entrants to the market who have carved out a niche in the flexible office space market.

Here Co-founder Yaron Rosenblum gives us his insights into how office space is adapting to meet the needs of UK PLC and how that is benefitting the flexible office space industry.

  1. What is your perception of the current state of London’s commercial office market at this time?

It’s performing strongly and demand has been increasing steadily since the start of the year, which should come as no surprise given the capital’s status as an international business hub and leader for financial and professional services. For example, Canvas Offices is tripling its portfolio over the next 18 months to meet demand. Companies are taking space, even before completion.

It’s important to understand that business leaders are becoming ever more discerning in their requirements, which means only settling for value added, bespoke spaces. For developers and landlords who can provide such a service, it’s great news, but as the market becomes more competitive, those who can’t or won’t keep up with the times, will unfortunately be in a perilous position.

  1. Why are flexible office space providers seeing so much interest from businesses?

It’s in the name… “flexibility”. All companies need to be agile if they are to be competitive, and for start-ups and SMEs especially, they want to focus their efforts on offering a great product or service, rather than worrying about the details of outfitting or running an office. If someone else can do that for them, while ensuring their brand identity is front and centre, it makes sense to do so.

After all, the flexible office market can be characterised by its eagerness to listen to the needs of customers and taking action to meet them. Compare this to the many traditional commercial options where a property can lie empty and untouched becoming outdated very quickly. It stays generic in the hope that that someone will eventually be desperate enough to settle for it.

Businesses today don’t want that. Instead they want modern properties or spaces that are reminiscent of the style and services of a boutique-hotel, with services to match.

  1. What are the demands of businesses looking to rent flexible office space and how have these changed over the past five years?

Traditional considerations still play a huge factor in where a company decides to locate itself and management teams will ask themselves such questions as “Are the offices fairly priced and good value for money? Are there nearby amenities and transport links? Will employees be able to get to work easily and feel happy in their surroundings?”

However, increasingly important, especially for start-ups and SMEs, are their neighbours. They want to be surrounded by other successful businesses that they can be inspired by, learn from and even collaborate with.  Office space providers have the ability to create a community from the many different businesses under their roof, as well as the surrounding area they’re building is located in.

This has become something of a USP for Canvas especially. We recognise our clients want their own identity but also the opportunity to be part of something bigger than themselves. Tapping into an impressive community of brands is not only prestigious, but also creates opportunities for networking, learning and employee development. When “good neighbours, become good friends”, it pays dividends for all.

  1. How do you perceive your role as an open office provider and how does it support the wider business community and UK economy?

We’re more than just office space providers. Rather, our buildings should be viewed as business growth incubators, first and foremost. SMEs are the backbone of the economy, and we strive to create the conditions that will allow our diverse client base to flourish, and perhaps one day become the next Google or Amazon. That means spending considerable time and effort finding great business friendly locations with strong transport links and amenities.

In London, it can be a challenge ticking all these boxes. Typically, we will discover a great building with great character that has failed to move with the times and has been forgotten by the rest of the world. We then go to work transforming it into a business hub, with great communal facilities, the latest cutting-edge technologies, but with the remit that it will be as comfortable to work from as your own home.

  1. What are your thoughts on the future of hybrid working given many large companies appear to be backtracking on their commitment to it?

It’s perfectly understandable. During something like a pandemic, it makes sense that employers would encourage staff to work from home, so as to keep them safe. Fortunately, the world has moved on, balance between employer and employee has been restored, and normality has resumed. Hybrid working is important to employees but equally they must understand that the office is a hub for them to get together, share ideas, develop as professionals, and become a team. They are also havens for the development and propagation of company culture and values. Given the benefits they bring, the majority of businesses cannot expect to grow and thrive without one!

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