The contribution SMEs make to the British economy is well documented. Smaller companies are not only the backbone of the nation’s industry but they often lead the way in innovation.
Indeed, it seems SMEs have become more dynamic and innovative over the past five years. There has been a tremendous surge in a wide range of new, agile businesses that have harnessed technological advances in an incredible variety of ways.
This growth has also coincided with rapid expansion of the flexible office market. Chicken and egg; cause or effect? No-one is brave enough to answer that one. But what is blindingly obvious that the two have gone hand-in-hand.
There is little doubt that flexible space has provided an incredible platform for the growth and development of smaller companies. The speed at which a new enterprise can be established with all the trappings of modern business – attractive and efficient workspace, superfast broadband, and staff wellbeing – is breathtaking.
Equally important is a company’s ability to expand quickly. Sometimes instantly but without incurring vast expanse.
At BE Offices we pride ourselves in working closely with our clients to provide the infrastructure enabling them to focus on one thing – their business – while we ensure their working environment is everything they would wish it to be.
It is always difficult to measure precisely the economic impact of a brilliant workplace. But any flexible space provider with high occupancy levels and a high retained client base where licence renewals are the order of the day knows it is doing something right.
What has also become clear is that price is only one element in the equation. We have worked hard to innovate as much as our clients. While design – both interior and exterior – has become extremely important, clients are looking for much more to ensure their business is attractive to the talent they seek to recruit, and more importantly, retain.
Today’s workplace needs to be healthy and exciting. Occupiers recognise the importance of wellbeing and the environment. Everything from the lighting – both natural and artificial – to climate control, the office furniture, office cleaning regime and even the recycling programme are taken into account.
Even a well-planned biophilic programme - plants and flowers – can increase employee wellbeing by as much as 47% while contributing to a 37% decrease in stress levels and a 15% uplift in productivity. This should be seen against a background where 1.4 million people suffer work-related illnesses which are estimated to cost the country £1.5bn in lost productivity.
Productivity can also be boosted by as much as 20% in those offices benefitting from natural daylight.
Equally important is the look and feel of flexible space. Today’s modern companies are looking for something different from the space they occupy. Employees of the millennial generation expect it and therefore employers demand it.
People want to work in not only well-designed space but something more. Something that is edgy. Something that is world’s apart from a traditional office building. Something that, in a way, creates a work/life balance within the office itself.
Today a break-out space has taken on a whole new meaning. It is not simply an area with a few sofas and a coffee table.
Occupiers want a lounge in which they can relax, have a drink and something to eat. They also want their own dedicated break-out area and a fully fitted gym.
Sounds increasingly like a hotel, doesn’t it? That’s because flexible space providers know these are the services their clients want as it creates a 21st century work environment that is key to productivity and staff well-being. Yet another way to attract and retain talent.
Walk into any well run and managed flexible office space and you are likely to do a double take. Have you walked into your favourite coffee shop, a hotel reception or a private members’ club?
The answer is probably all three!
What is fascinating is that it is not only the TMT sectors which have found the well managed and well-presented flexible space increasingly attractive but also more “traditional” people industries.
A growing number of advisory and project-based sectors are also being drawn to the flexible space market – even those requiring relatively large amounts of space. BE Offices, through its BESpoke division is tapping into the desire among these companies to licence rather than lease accommodation.
This can be an all-encompassing service from identification through to fit-out. It enables those businesses to expand/move quickly into space that is fit for purpose but which they don’t have to manage or worry about future dilapidations.
The work environment is changing – and changing fast – as it is recognised that a workplace fit for today’s staff is one that is a contributing factor to higher productivity and therefore greater business success.
And flexible space is leading the way in providing the backdrop that enables businesses to succeed.
BE Offices is a leading owner and provider of flexible office solutions and business centres in the UK providing business space for 1 – 1000 desks.