Flexible workspaces buck commercial property downturn

flexible-workspaces-Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

New data has revealed the surging popularity of shared flexible workspaces in the UK, as the world moves on from pandemic-led lockdowns.

Since the beginning of the year, four of the top five performing flexible office space brands saw an average year-on-year increase of almost 60% (57.03%) in online search volumes, bucking the trend for the property sector overall which saw a decrease of 6.48% in the same period.

Flexible workspaces

Leading the way were searches for ‘Runway East’ (up 188.15%) and ‘Workspace’ (searches up 27.73%). They were followed by ‘Spaces’ and ‘Work.Life’, which also saw increases in search volumes of 8.16% and 4.08%, respectively.

Only ‘WeWork’ saw a decrease in the top five, with searches down 4.79% compared to the same period in 2022.

The data comes from analysis of Google search data by digital marketing specialist MediaVision.

Additionally searches for ‘office space rental’ were up 65.95% YoY, while ‘office rental space’ increased by 34.5%. Unsurprisingly, ‘office space to rent in London’ has increased by a huge 166.32%. Meanwhile, searches for ‘coworking space’ have seen a small increase of 1.78%.

The rise of shared working spaces aligns with changing attitudes towards work, with a growing number of UK workers preferring a hybrid working model that includes both remote and office-based work.

A recent survey by IWG found that 74% of UK workers prefer this approach.

The popularity of shared working spaces is also reflected in the Q4 results of major players in the industry. CBRE Workplace Solutions saw a 9.8% positive revenue change and a 12.8% positive net revenue change YoY in its Q4 results. 

Similarly, WeWork reported occupancy rebounding to 81% at the end of last year compared with 63% a year prior, indicating a strong recovery in demand.

Louis Venter, CEO at MediaVision, said: “The popularity of shared working spaces continues to surge, driven by the changing needs of workers and the increasing flexibility of modern workplaces.

“And we’ve seen the major players in the industry reporting positive results and high occupancy rates.

“There’s no doubt that the UK’s workforce continues to evolve and adapt to new ways of working. It will be interesting to see if more ‘traditional’ office space opens to co-working and flexible working over the coming months and beyond.

“By identifying these search behaviours now, we are able to use them as a predictive measure for what movements we are going to see in the property sector in the coming months.

“Search is a great indicator of future trends, and a more “honest” barometer of intent than other forms of research.”

MediaVision’s data is based on the analysis of UK search data from AdWords and Google Trends using its proprietary Digital Demand Tracker tool, part of the Metis technology that produces search insights four times faster than standard industry SEO tools.